The next wine you have may come from a can.
We are accustomed to wine in a box (actually a bag in a box) and in Tetra Paks cartons. But now comes wine in conventional cans, much like beer or soda. And the cans are coming on strong.
Even small wineries that have experimented with canning small quantities have found a way to stand out on the shelves as a canned wine. Tim Benedict, vice president of Winemaking at Hazlitt Winery, operator of East Coast Crush & Co-pack, which produces and packages wine on behalf of other wineries, said at a trade function earlier this year that canned wine was perhaps the fastest-moving wine trend he’s seen.
Here are some takeaways about canned wine.
- A can is a pretty good vessel for any beverage. Keeping out light and air, a seal will protect what is in it.
- Wine destined for a can may be different than wine headed into bottles. The chemistry of wine destined for a can is in somewhat narrower parameters to avoid corrosion. Red wine often has trouble conforming.
- White wines are often canned with some spritz and are more often to be flavored in some way. Once the carbonation fizzes off, which happens pretty quick, they begin to taste like fruit juice.
- Canned wine makes wine more accessible. Some view canned wine as more approachable and friendly. It’s welcome in places where a bottle is not — pools and beaches. Cans are lighter and take up less space than bottles, making them better for hiking, biking, canoeing or other activities. Unlike some plastics, cans are always recyclable.
- Canned wines usually are non-vintage, and while typically good, they rarely are great. They seem to lack acid and a mid-palate. A can is 375 ml, half the amount of a bottle, so the equivalent of about two glasses.
I tried a few canned wines, avoiding flavored ones (“peach” and “sangria” seemed common). Thankfully un-spritzed, Underwood Oregon Pinot Noir is a savory wine with black cherry and is earthy with hints of bacon. $7. ★★★★
Days Drinking Rose Bubbles Wine Spritzer is to be drunk fast. This wine flattens fast and turns into fruit juice. $6. ★★★
Crafters Union 2017 California Rosé is juicy and satisfying when enjoyed promptly. It’s a spritzy, refreshing wine. $6. ★★★
Santa Julia Tintillo Argentina Malbec Bonarda seems interesting with Argentina’s red also-ran, Bonarda. But this wine, like other canned wines, comes off as more juice than wine, with some interesting berry fruit character but without the acid backbone one would want from a wine. $6. ★★ 1/2
In the end, canned wines are great for convenience but not often for great wine.
GRADE: Exceptional ★★★★★, Above average ★★★★, Good ★★★, Below average ★★, Poor ★.