Curious About Wine in a Can? Here Are The 6 Best Sommelier-Approved Brands
While wine in a can has been an under-the-radar trend for at least the past 5 years, it’s safe to say it’s now fully mainstream: the category grew 67% in 2019, according to Nielsen. All of a sudden it’s everywhere, and the options seem endless.
If you’re wondering if wine in a can is something you should try— or worried you won’t be able to find a ‘good’ one— never fear. All your questions are answered below, along with some recs from your favorite sommelier (yes, even us somms are getting in on the can wine game!).
Why wine in a can?
There are lots of reasons to love wine in a can:
Cans are convenient
Meeting a friend for a picnic? Need something easy to sneak into a movie? Looking to have ‘just a glass’ and don’t want to open a whole bottle? Can’t find your corkscrew? Pop a can and you’re good to go!
Cans are eco friendly
Cans are much better for the environment than glass bottles! Not only are they lighter to ship, thus producing a much lower carbon footprint, but a larger percentage of aluminum cans actually get recycled as compared to glass bottles: industry estimates state that 70% of wine bottles end up in landfills, where cans have a much better track record: 69% will be recycled.
Cans go where bottles can’t
Glass is prohibited from lots of outdoor spaces where you might like to enjoy some wine: parks, beaches, pool deck, concerts, campsites! If you’re planning an outdoor adventure, a cooler full of cans is an excellent option.
Does wine in a can taste different from wine in a bottle?
The taste of the wine shouldn’t necessarily be compromised simply because of the packaging: just like there are great quality wines in bottles and also awful quality wines, the same goes for cans. Because wine is a living, breathing piece of organic matter, there really is no such thing as a perfect vessel; on its journey wine can be greeted with lots of issues no matter whether you’re dealing with a bottle, can, box, or keg. Wines in bottles can be corked or oxidized— and thankfully wines in cans are not at risk for either problem! The most common issue is that cans are a reductive environment; there is a small risk that if the wine has not had enough oxygen exposure, it may develop sulphuric compounds, making the wine smell strongly of sulphur (think: a struck match). The good news is: if you experience this, you can pour the wine into a glass and give it a few minutes, often times the sulphur fumes will blow off and the wine will correct itself.
Also important to know: the cans themselves are coated on the inside, so they won’t give the wine a metallic taste.
Pro Tip: for maximum enjoyment, don’t drink the wine directly from the can: to experience the wine’s aromas, pour it into a glass before you sip.
Wine in a Can: The Best Brands
There are so many premium wine brands getting into the can wine market today that there is NO excuse to compromise on quality! Seriously, no reason to lower your standards because it’s ‘just’ in a can. Demand the best!
After tasting dozens of can wine samples, these were the absolute standouts:
Bridge Lane is produced by Lieb Cellars on the North Fork of Long Island, and they were the first New York winery to move into the can wine market! With five different options, they have something for everyone— but for quirk factor, the White Merlot is really fun and different. Each can of Bridge Lane is the equivalent of a half bottle of wine.
Organic-loving winos, take note: Bonterra winery in California’s Mendocino County has been making organic wines for over 30 years (ie, WAY before it was cool). The expansion into cans makes perfect sense considering their eco-friendly roots, and they are packing into in 250-milliliter single serving cans. I highly recommend the Young Red, slightly chilled- perfect for your next barbecue!
One of the advantages to knowing people who know people: because you’re reading this article and therefore in the inner circle of a very well-connected sommelier, I can share that Canned Oregon is a product of the fabulous Stoller Winery in Oregon’s Willamette Valley! The believe so strongly in the future of the canned wine category that they started a whole entire new brand for their cans. I will say, most of the canned ‘bubby’ wines from other brands I tried were godawful— but Canned Oregon absolutely slayed it with both their White Bubbles and Rosé Bubbles in-a-can offerings.
A woman owned company with undoubtedly the best branding of all the wines sampled; Nomadica was founded by sommelier Kristin Olszewski and brand boss Emma Toshak. They source the wines from small-production winemakers around the globe- which means if you see a can you love, snap it up— it just might be a limited edition!
A rosé produced by Scribe Winery in Sonoma, this wine is named after the producer’s daughter (awww). They source the grapes for this wine from sustainably farmed vineyards in California— and a portion of the proceeds is donated to nonprofits that that support youth, food and agricultural education: Edible Schoolyard and the Center for Land-Based Learning. A wine you can feel great about supporting!
Sans Wine Co. produces wine ONLY in cans- so you know they are serious about their craft. Their company philosophy revolves around sourcing premium wine grapes from organically farmed vineyards and environmentally conscious growers in order to craft natural wines. Try the Rutherford Riesling or the Carbonic Carignan. Check out this interesting interview with the founders by my friend Amanda McCrossin, aka Sommvivant, on her YouTube Channel.