How good is canned wine?

Eduardo Dingler explores the growth in canned wine sales in the USA, and now the UK – and at $25 dollars a can in some cases, it’s not just the house wines. So how good is canned wine?, July 23, 2019.

There are a number of advantages to canned wine, and it is currently enjoying increasing popularity in the United States, where it is seeing healthy sales.

This market started some years ago, with established wine companies such as the Francis Ford Coppola Winery producing ‘Sofia’ Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine in cans in 2004.

To date a number of wineries have contributed to the canned-wine world; in many ways elevating the quality and perception of the product.

‘Most canned wines on the market did not have a vintage, were not variety specific and did not come from a specific AVA or even vineyard. We wanted to show that you can put high-end wines in alternative packaging, and that they taste exactly same as they would coming from a bottle,’ explains Gina Schober from Sans Wine.

“There are a number of benefits when opting for cans instead of glass bottles – lower carbon footprint by reducing weight and promoting more efficient recycling are just the start,”

say Matthew Allan and Kenny Rochford from West + Wilder

‘In some ways it’s easy and non-pretentious to consume wine from a can,’ declares Sean Larkin, winemaker and proprietor of Larkin Wines.

‘More retailers are now stocking wine in cans in the UK,’ said Andy Howard MW in the August issue of Decanter.

Waitrose, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and the Co-op have increased their range, while English wine is also getting in on the act with brands such asThe Uncommon Bacchus.’

Another advantage of canned wine is faster chilling. This makes cans a good choice for picnics, concerts in the park and drinking by the pool, where glass is most likely prohibited.

The canned beverage industry has grown in many directions from canned cocktails to canned sake and, of course, several types of craft beer. The challenge is to prove that canned wine can exceed consumer expectations, with an exceptional glass of wine re-educating the way people drink.

Some canned wines demand prices upwards of $25 per 37.5cl can (equivalent to half a bottle of wine) such as Sans Wine Company Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, while the average price of most is around $5.

The varieties available in the marketplace are also quite diverse; from a number of rosés from Pinot Noir and Rhône to a good amount of sparkling or carbonated examples. Pinot Grigio goes all the way to red blends and Cabernet Sauvignon.

‘Another major advantage of cans is a reduced carbon footprint – aluminium has far higher recycling rates than glass, and the carbon effect of shipping lighter containers is significant,’ said Howard.

Although an exciting trend, there are a few important facts to consider, like ageability. When asked, producers mostly agree that canned wine is designed to be consumed soon after buying.

Another recommendation from producers is for consumers not to drink straight from the can but to drink out of a glass or plastic wine glass.

When asked about some of the challenges of this growing segment, Tony McClung, president of wine-industry consulting firm AMC Insights notes, ‘The production side is a large puzzle. The pieces include the can producer, the canning facility, the packaging company, the winery, the shipping company and the distribution network. All these pieces have not yet caught up to the demand.’

Talking about the all-important consumer demographic he said, ‘As we skew towards a younger generation, the market for alternative packaging will grow. They will then embrace the idea of wine in a can as they get older.’

There seems to be no stopping this nearly $50-million business that shows promising developments and considerable options for producers and consumers alike.