by Vivian Lee
Canned Wine is the New Craft Beer
4th of July brings out the red, white and blues, sizzling hot dogs and burgers, sparklers, and a symphony of fireworks enveloping the nighttime sky. Throwing your neighborly afternoon BBQ, you cram your cooler full of fizzy drinks, Lacroix, beer and re-corked bottles of whites, champagne, and rosés. While beer has been a longtime staple of those hot Independence Day celebrations, canned wine is coming into its own. They’re portable, chillable and available in an array of hipster cool, arty designs.
If you can’t be bothered with toting large bottles, the Coravin wine opener is out of the average person’s price range and less economical for those summer barbecues. Cans are great because they come in single servings as well as shareable larger servings, so you can sip and share. To avoid the sometimes “aluminum can” taste, you should pour out the wine into a glass or plastic cup.
Wine can be complex as well as a pleasurable drink, and it’s often touted for certain effects beyond the heady buzz you get from imbibing a glass. You’ve probably heard of skin care products that include wine polyphenol ingredients. Red wine in particular is often lauded for anti-aging properties associated with resveratrol, that skin-friendly polyphenol found in grape skins. Based on published articles, resveratrol has a hand in fighting free radicals and oxidative stress. What are free radicals? Generally speaking, these are unstable molecules that wreak havoc and oxidative stress on your body. Pollution and sun damage contribute to the formation of free radicals.
Craft Beer or Canned Wine?
The sales of craft beer has continued to climb while the those of big brands have remained flat in recent years. Craft beer sales were up 7% last year with more people wanting to have that special experience of creative craft beer making. Canned wine is changing the winemaking landscape and increasing the accessibility of wine to the masses. According to MarketWatch, the nascent canned wine industry is valued at $28 million today. Just four years ago, total sales of canned wine was just below $2 million. Times are a-changing.
Behold the Beautiful Can
Canned wine is getting the craft beer love with greater consideration to what goes inside the beautiful can. But not all canned wines are created equal. After reading a thoughtful article written by The Washington Post food columnist Dave McIntyre, I took heed and poured my canned wine into a glass cup.
Rosés are my pick of drinkable canned wines
As I walk through the wine aisles at Whole Foods, I see more options of canned wines mixed in with bottled wines and spirits. At Trader Joe’s I encountered a similar, albeit sparser experience. After having sampled various cans of reds, whites and rosés, my preference always leads me to the refreshingly crisp and bubbly rosés. Whites were often disappointing straight out of a can, and some reds seemed to cling on to that “aluminum can” taste.
Whole Foods carries the bubbly Italian-based Presto rosé in a can. Slightly dry and fruity, I enjoyed this in a glass. Presto comes in a 4-pack, and each serving size is a dainty 187ml. Child-size juice glass rejoice!
I was, however, far less impressed with the considerably sweet Presto sparkling cuvée in a can. Mirabeau’s Pure Provence rosé in a can was less drinkable in comparison to the Presto rosé.
Economical Fave – TJ’s Simpler Wines Rosé
Trader Joe’s does the job right with a small single-serving canned rosé. When chilled, it’s refreshingly light and effervescent with just the right tinge of sweetness. I generally prefer dry wines. In a slim 187ml serving size can, TJ’s Simpler Wines come in a 4-pack, and you can spend a whopping $3.99. I sampled the TJ’s white wine, and it was frankly “meh”.
Canned Reds are a work-in-progress
With all the hype and articles written about Oregon based Union Wine Co., my expectations were a tad high for the Underwood Pinot Noir. I was sadly disappointed. It came with a distinct aluminum taste even after I poured it into a wine glass. I may have to give Underwood another go and try some of its other varietals. The Underwood cans come in a larger serving size of 375ml, and are available for sale in single cans at Whole Foods and other wine shops. The West Side Wine Co’s Cabernet Sauvignon also had the “aluminum can” taste.
The average bottle of wine is 750ml (25 oz) and pours out approximately five to six glasses. The canned wines these days come in 187ml, 250ml, 375ml, and 500ml cans. The portability and single serving size of the 187ml cans provide great consumption control. The larger sizes, particularly as you get to 375ml and 500ml provides the perfect MO to whip out a couple of wine glasses for a day trip (or night out) with friends or dates.
Recycle & Drink Responsibly
As with any packaging, whether in an elegant bottle or a can, we can be mindful of recycling and our continued responsibility to the environment. When you’re ready for that perfect picnic trip, or in this case, a 4th of July barbecue, celebrate in style.
Enjoy a Happy 4th and cheers to you!