Your favorite summer wines this year just might be in a can. But before you go sour grapes, know that these aren’t your canned wines of yesteryear. In the past, wineries typically canned their throwaway wines, which may have given you some sipper’s remorse. Today, the new kids on the block are prioritizing quality, and several companies are working directly with some of the best winemakers and growers. Ready to crack one open?
Sarah Hoffman, cofounder of Maker Wine, and Kenny Rochford, cofounder of West + Wilder Wines, both say wine should be fun, approachable, and nonpretentious—for them, canning wine is the perfect way to achieve that. There are also practical benefits to using cans: They’re portable, and each can is equivalent to about one glass (so you don’t have to worry about finishing an entire bottle once you open it). Canning a wine doesn’t affect its quality. There’s no risk of oxygen or light getting to it, and since aluminum is the most recycled material on the planet, it’s more sustainable than bottled wine.
The improving quality of canned wine has been demonstrated in blind-tasting competitions, in which canned wines are consistently rated on par with or higher than conventional bottled wines. But this isn’t to say that all canned wines are created equal—there are a few things to look for to ensure you’re purchasing high quality.
First, read the packaging for details about the varietal, where the wine was produced, and information about the winemaker. Hoffman emphasizes that only a proud winemaker would put those details on their cans. It’s also important to look at the canning date, since canned wines are made to be sipped fresh. According to Rochford, you’ll want to be sure the wine was canned less than two years before you plan to drink it, but ideally within six months to a year.
I did some blind taste testing of my own, just in time for summer. If you’re looking for a great canned rosé, try Maker Wine, West + Wilder, Belden Barns, Priest Ranch, Sans Wine Co. (producer of all-natural canned wines), WineSociety, or Acrobat.
For a delicious canned sparkling wine, go with Maker Wines’ sparkling rosé or sparkling sauvignon blanc, Sans Wine Co.’s sparkling rosé, or West + Wilder’s sparkling white.
If you’re in the mood for a canned red, reach for Maker Wine’s cabernet or pinot noir, WineSociety’s red blend, or Kusafiri’s canned red wine produced in South Africa. And keep an eye out for a new canned wine produced here in Encinitas, Sipwell Wine Co., launching in May.
Next time you’re heading to the beach, having a picnic, or just want to see what the hype is about, keep an open mind and pick up some canned wine for a no-frills way to sip some delicious vino.