Canned wine took a while to come onto the scene, but now that it's on shelves everywhere, you've got to figure out which are actually good. Just like other canned drinks, you'll find a handful of brands with varying quality. But, when you really hit the mark, cans are a great portable and sustainable option for your vino.
A New Era of Packaging
When canned wine hit the market, it didn't take long for a plethora of options (good and bad) to find their way onto the shelves. While some people find this light and portable option for wine perfect for their in-the-tub tipple or après-ski drink, others are skeptical of the quality they'll find in a non-traditional aluminum can. But, not unlike craft beer making the transition from glass bottle to can, the quality of wine doesn't change just because the packaging does.
The ingrained notion of wine being more sophisticated and serious is often what makes people standoffish about canned wine. And, while some wine is austere and age-worthy, the vast majority is intended to be enjoyed young and is totally suitable in a can. Hopefully, part of the canned wine movement will help ease some of the stuffiness that is too-often associated with wine and make it a bit more lighthearted and approachable.
Canned Wine: A Sustainable Alternative
With a growing number of wineries leaning into more sustainable practices in the vineyard and cellar, a holistic approach to understanding and tracking their carbon footprint is becoming more and more prevalent. Moving some of the wine production to cans versus glass bottles is a substantial step in this department. Aluminum cans are significantly lighter than glass and therefore produce a smaller carbon footprint when it comes to shipping. Aluminum is also more readily recyclable compared to glass.
Does this mean all wine should be canned? No. There are those rare trousseaus and heady nebbiolos that need to spend some time hanging out in a real deal bottle and come into their own. But! When there is a juicy carbonic red or sparkling rosé in a winemaker's lineup, canning it can be a great move for both you and the environment.
Sizing Up the Can
Not sold yet? Okay, get this. The same wine coming from a bottle or can will taste identical! The aluminum doesn't affect the taste or quality of the wine. In terms of size, the can offers numerous smaller, personalized options that are perfect for when a bottle is just too much. Cans are typically either 250ml (⅓ of a 750ml bottle) or 375ml (½ of a 750ml bottle). Often, you'll find single cans available as well as a select few in four packs. The portable nature and smaller size make it ideal for bringing wine to the beach or on a hike, or when you aren't looking to open a whole bottle. Keep it casual and drink it from the can or pour it into a glass, your choice.
How to Choose a Canned Wine
So. You're at the store and not sure which canned wine to go for. The canned wine selection is not unlike the bottle section; there are some gems and some duds. You've got to search out and decipher what's good and what's not. Just like bottled wine, this can be a little tricky. Your first filter is where you're shopping. A specialty wine shop is generally going to carry higher quality wine than your typical grocery store.
When it comes to canned wine labeling, you're in luck. More often than not, cans will have a bit more information than bottles. You'll likely find the grape, where it's from, and some key information about the winery. Beyond this, you might see a few of the following terms: handpicked, organic grapes, or dry-farmed. These are good indicators that the winery is leaning into a sustainable practice. The can may also list some tasting notes, which gives you an idea of what style to expect. Both carbonically fermented and sparkling wines are great candidates for cans, so you'll likely see a few more of these styles over others.
Look for These Canned Wines
Looking for a sparkling rosé, an orange wine, or a poppy red to chill? These canned wines are real stunners that should not be missed.
- Sans Wine Co. makes a bright sauvignon blanc from organic and dry-farmed fruit from Big Valley District AVA in California. Naturally fermented, this white is full of vibrant tropical fruits, ripe pineapple, and crisp pear.
- Looking for bubbles? The sparkling rosé from Nomadica will hit the spot. Non-vintage, California grenache is aged in stainless and fermented to dry to create bright notes of ripe raspberry and bursting pomegranate with a subtle minerality.
- A brilliant little number from Spain is Artómaña Xarmant Txakoli. Classically spritzy, this Basque white wine is perfect for a warm day with notes of grapefruit, apple skin, and a salty green characteristic.
- Old Westminster is a bit of an outlier in the wine industry being in Maryland, but the sustainably focused winery makes a skinsy orange wine from pinot gris called Seeds & Skins. It's a great expression of what wine can be in the region. Think peach, apricot skin, dried leaves, and ripe nectarine.
- An absolute gem of a canned wine is the sparkling carbonic Bucking Luna from Two Shepherds winery in California. A charged natural wine made from carignan and cinsault, this is bright, juicy, and dry. Chill, chill, chill.
- From the North Coast of California comes a juicy kitchen sink red by Broc Cellars. This full-bodied red is full of brambly fruit, cherry, and culinary herb garden. The carbonic fermentation and acidity make this canned red a bright pairing for many heartier foods.
Pull That Tab & Cheers
If you haven't dabbled in canned wine yet, now's the time to get started. With so many amazing winemakers switching over a few young wines in their line-up to cans, you have plenty of good options. So, pop a can and cheers to sustainability and convenience.