With the wicker wine totes and beer cozies flooding stores each summer, you’d think park and beach boozing magically turned legal come Memorial Day. Not so, says NYPD Lieutenant Gene White. According to New York Administrative Code 110-25, if you are carrying an open container of alcohol at a city park, beach, or other public place, you can be issued a summons (the Parks Department has its own open-container rule too). “Drinking alcohol on the streets leads to other things, that’s our biggest issue,” explains White. The law, according to the lieutenant, “cuts down on assaults and other violence—and that’s a proven fact.”
Hard to assess the street riots set to erupt over those Great Lawn pasta-salad spreads, but we’re sure our hard-working NYPD is on the case. Naturally, we have the sneaking suspicion that the coppers turn a blinder eye to some indiscretions than others—but really, who knows the wily ways of the booze police?
If you’re going to break the law, at least make sure it’s for a worthy spirit. There’s no glory in getting caught with a Bacardi Breezers six-pack.
Here are a few picnic-wine suggestions, courtesy of a few of our favorite wine stores in the city.
Cynthia Sexton, wine buyer for Chelsea Wine Vault:
Sindoa, 2005, Spain, $7.99
“My main recommendation is rosés. This is really the season for them, and they’re really for summertime, as a picnic thing. They pair better with meats or dry sausages. You’re not looking for a big deep burgundy, but something crisp, minerally. To cool you off. In general, rosés also tend to have more depth and fragrance than the whites, at least the better made ones do. They’re drunk a lot in southern France with cheeses, fruits, little baguette sandwiches—because they tend to be very versatile.”
“The Sindoa is a blend of Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon. The Grenache really helps to add a nice spice, and the cab adds more depth. It’s got really nice aromatics, but depth that can handle some spicier food, like prosciutto, sausage, as well as cheeses and fruit. Other rosés are lighter and might fall apart with the meat.
Gruner Veltiner, Austria, $8.99
“A white wine that’s crisp, has a little spice, floral notes, Very popular in the store. Will cool you off.”
Pierre Boniface Apremont, French Alps, $13.99
“A very refreshing, crispy white. One of those wines where you won’t feel weighed down.”
Eva Wassemiller-Zorad, manager and wine buyer for September:
Domaine de Mirail “Colombard,” Cote de Gascogne, $9.99
“A white wine that’s light, grapefruit on the nose, but a very crisp, clean, minerally palate. It’s good for sunny days at a picnic, or on the roof.”
Arca Nova Vinho Verde, $8.99
“A Portuguese white. Low alcohol, very light, very crisp, a little citrus fruit to it. Great picnic wine.”
Secret de Campane, Rhone, $8.99
“A red with really great berry fruits to it, but a very smooth finish with a little pepper on the end. So it’s great for BBQs. Just chill it a little bit.”
Sean Hanley, store manager at Acker Merrall & Condit:
Palazone Orvieto, Italian white, $8.00
Domaine La Fage, white, $10
Domaine Schlumberger, Pinot Blanc, $10.99
Domaine de Mirail, white, $8.00