While you most likely associate wine with glass bottles and corks, an increasingly popular trend both traditional and new wineries are adding to their lineups is canned wine. Canned wine offers several conveniences like increased portability, ease of access — no corkscrew needed — pre-measured servings and a lower price point than many bottled wines.
There’s a good chance you might have some questions about the ins and outs of canned wine since it’s still a relative newcomer to the scene. If you’re interested in learning more about canned wine, we’ve compiled an in-depth guide exploring the mysteries of wine in a can.
What Is Canned Wine?
Wineries make canned wine the same way they make bottled wine. The main difference comes when winemakers put the finished product inside an aluminum can instead of a glass bottle during the final stage in the winemaking process. You can find all types of wine in cans, including sweet and dry whites, reds and rosés. You’ll also find wine spritzers, which typically have a lower alcohol content and are a combination of wine and natural flavorings.
While some public places like pools or beaches may have rules against bringing glass, aluminum cans don’t face those same restrictions. Canned wines are more convenient than glass bottles because they’re lightweight and don’t require a corkscrew to open. Enjoy wine at the top of a mountain, on a raft in a pool or while relaxing by the ocean. Glass is hard to transport, and you face the risk of it shattering before you reach your destination. Bring canned wine with you worry-free to enjoy your favorite wine without the hassle.
Aluminum cans are also better for the environment because cans are lighter in weight than glass bottles, so transporting them requires a smaller carbon footprint. Along with that, the average aluminum can is made of 70% recycled materials, which is three times more than glass bottles. People are also 20% more likely to recycle cans than glass, so the canned wine revolution is excellent news for the environment.
When Did Canned Wine Come out?
Canned wine has probably been around for longer than you think. Wineries started selling wine in cans in 1935, just two years after the American Prohibition era in 1933. The original canned wines came in flat-top steel containers without an easy way to open them apart from a tool to create a hole in the top.
The first iteration of canned wine was inconvenient, and the wine inside was unstable and didn’t last long. Consumers placed false blame on spoiled wine because it was in a can, and the canned wine industry lost steam.
The Wine Packaging Corporation of Stockton, California, released a new version of canned wine in the 1940s with a crimped bottle cap, much like we’re used to seeing on bottles of beer today. Later, in 1954, Yosemite Winery created three canned wines — white port, port and sherry, sold in six-packs.
Other wineries continued to produce versions of canned wines throughout the second half of the 1900s, but none saw high sales, and it seemed that wine drinkers weren’t interested in canned wines. Most producers stopped selling canned wine quickly after they started following a lack of consumer interest.
The Introduction of Modern Canned Wine
If you search for the origins of canned wine, some articles point to the Francis Ford Coppola Winery, which released the Sofia Mini Blanc de Blancs sparkling canned wine in 2004. While we know winemakers have been releasing canned wines since the 1930s, the Coppola Winery’s entry into canned wines marks the beginning of the canned wine revolution.
The winery owner, Francis Coppola, is the father of the famous screenwriter, director, producer and actress Sofia Coppola. The company introduced the Sofia Mini Blanc de Blancs after Sofia’s film “Lost in Translation,” which came out in 2003 and won an Oscar for best original screenplay.
The Francis Ford Coppola Winery created their bubbly in a can to appeal to a younger crowd and make wine seem less intimidating to those newer to the beverage. The president of the winery at the time, Erle Martin, stated the audience they were targeting with the canned wine was predominantly female individuals in their 20s.
This target audience consisted of an urban and sophisticated market instead of established wine drinkers. The cans contained 187 milliliters of wine and had a removable straw attached to the side of the can, much like a revamped juice box for adults.
The winery produced 5,000 cases of the Sofia Mini Blanc de Blancs. Consumers purchased all the cases, so they expanded their production facilities and continue to make canned wine now over 15 years later. Other wineries noticed Coppola’s success with their canned wines in the following years and began to can their own wine.
Now, hundreds of wineries sell canned wine. Advancements in technology have aided the canning process through portable canning machines, allowing smaller wineries to enter the canned wine market that couldn’t afford an in-house canning setup otherwise.
Is Canned Wine Good?
As you would with any new product, you might wonder if canned wine is any good. Luckily, the answer is yes. Much like bottled wines, canned wines come in complex and flavorful varieties that leave you wanting more. The canning process doesn’t take away any of the wine’s quality, so you can be confident that canned wine is an excellent alternative to a glass bottle.
Many wineries can the same wine they put in glass bottles. The quality and taste are the same as bottled wine, and the can doesn’t alter the taste of the wine, either. Canned wines also have vintages like their glass siblings, so if you have a particular vintage you enjoy, you may be able to find it in canned form.
When wineries first introduced canned wine back in the 1930s, many people complained about a metallic taste. But can makers resolved this problem many years ago. Companies now coat the cans’ interior with an epoxy barrier that keeps the wine from coming into contact with the aluminum. The coating prevents the wine from taking on a metallic taste.
Is Canned Wine Carbonated?
You can find canned wines that are either carbonated or still. Many canned wine companies produce versions of both, so there are plenty of options for you, whether you prefer the refreshing bubbles or a more traditional still wine.
How to Drink Canned Wine
When people see canned wine for the first time, many ask, “Do you drink canned wine in the can?” You can choose to drink canned wine directly from the can, or you can pour it into a glass or plastic wine glass. The way you consume the canned wine comes down to personal preference.
Pouring the can into a wine glass may be a better option if you enjoy the subtleties and aromatics of wine. The wine glass will have a larger opening at the top for you to smell the wine properly, just as you could if you poured it from a bottle.
One of the benefits of canned wine is its convenience, though, so feel free to drink it straight from the can with no shame at all.
How Long Does Canned Wine Last?
You may be wondering if canned wine can go bad. Canned wine will not last as long as a comparable glass bottle might. The average shelf life for canned wine is 12 to 18 months, so manufacturers recommend drinking the wine within that time frame. Canned wines can expire and aren’t intended to be collected and aged like some glass bottles are.
Does Canned Wine Have an Expiration Date?
You might expect to find expiration dates to help you determine how long canned wine is good for. But expiration dates on canned wines depend on the manufacturer. Some will date the can or the packaging with a best by date, but others may choose not to. Ultimately, you should try to drink your canned wine within a year of the purchase date unless the winery has a date labeled on the package.
How to Save Canned Wine
If you open a can of wine and cannot finish it in the same evening, you could store the can in a fridge for around two to four days. Consider using plastic wrap or aluminum foil to cover the top of the can to prevent air from entering it. To help the wine last longer, you may want to transfer the contents of the can to a reusable water bottle with a good seal as a better way to keep air out.
Do You Refrigerate Canned Wine?
Refrigerating your canned wine is entirely up to your personal preferences. If you have a can of cabernet sauvignon and drink your red wines at room temperature, you can leave the can out of the fridge. Sparkling rosé will likely be the best if kept cold in the refrigerator or a cooler.
What Are the Best Canned Wines?
Hundreds of brands sell canned wine across the world. The wine you find in cans varies from traditional varietals like pinot grigio to a unique passionfruit mimosa. There’s a can of wine that can appeal to nearly any taste preference, whether you prefer a dry red or a refreshing white.
Best Canned Wine Brands
Some canned wine brands have naturally proven themselves better than others and have mastered the technique of canning high-quality and delicious wine. Check out the following lines of wine if you’re searching for the best canned wine brands:
- Union Wine Co.: Union Wine Co., based in Oregon, launched the Underwood line of canned wines in 2014 and has become a leader in the canned wine industry. They distribute their cans nationwide and have an extensive offering. The Underwood line includes eight different varietals, featuring classic wines like pinot noir, pinot gris and rosé, as well as more modern offerings such as The Bubbles and the Riesling Radler. The Underwood line is among the most widely available canned wines because of mass popularity and a low price point.
- Nomadica: Nomadica doesn’t sell any bottled wine — they’re strictly a canned wine company focusing on sustainability. The company offers a medium-bodied red blend of sangiovese, grenache and zinfandel, a refreshing chardonnay, a crisp and bright Pink River Rosé, a sparkling white and a sparkling rosé. California vineyards produce all the wines and take inspiration from the state’s beautiful nature for the products.
- Dark Horse: Dark Horse is a popular wine brand that has made most of their award-winning bottled wines available in can form, as well. The canned wine varietals they offer are Brut Bubbles, Rosé Bubbles, rosé, pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc and pinot noir.
- MANCAN: Two childhood best friends founded MANCAN. The idea came to them when they were sitting in a bar and wanted wine but thought the half-empty bottles stored behind the bar didn’t look appealing. The company launched in 2015 as the first exclusive canned wine company in the country. Cans come with 375 milliliters of wine, equivalent to half a bottle. They offer a rosé, an unoaked chardonnay and viognier blend with or without bubbles and a red merlot and zinfandel blend.
- Three Brothers: Find the Three Brothers Winery along the Seneca Lake Wine Trail. They offer unique canned wine like The Devil Went Down, a sparkling red blend of barbera and valvin muscat, or Vicious, a blended blush wine with bubbles. You could also try Tenacious, a less bold carbonated red blend with cayuga, riesling, concord, catawba and gruner veltliner grapes. They also offer canned wine spritzers, combining their wines with natural fruit flavors and carbonation. Try the cherry wine spritzer, Love, or Cosmic, a lime wine spritzer.
- Day Drinking: Have you heard of the band Little Big Town? When they’re not performing at concerts, they’re at work on their refreshing canned wines. They offer fruity and flavorful wine spritzers like watermelon rosé, southern peach and black cherry. Their spritzers are the perfect beverage to take to the beach and relax in the sun with.
- Michael David: The Michael David Winery offers its cabernet sauvignon named Freakshow in both cans and bottles. Freakshow is medium in body with notes of French oak, toasted hazelnut and blackberry cobbler.
- Francis Ford Coppola Winery: As the winery responsible for the surge in canned wine popularity, the Coppola Family Winery has continued to improve its offerings since the release of Sofia Mini Blanc de Blancs in 2004. They now offer Sofia Mini Rosé, Sofia Mini Brut Rosé and the original Sofia Blanc de Blancs. You can also enjoy their premium Diamond Collection that includes pinot noir, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and pinot grigio.
Best Canned Wine
Canned wine is the perfect drink to enjoy poolside, at the beach, on a hike or in the comfort of your own home. If you’re new to canned wines, you’re getting started at the perfect time because the quality of these products has seen a significant increase within the past decade. We’ve compiled some of the top-rated canned wines to match your tastes.
Best Canned White Wines
White wine is some of the most commonly found canned wines, so if you’re a white wine lover, there are plenty of fantastic options for you to try. Consider these top canned wines in the white category:
- Best canned chardonnay: 19 Crimes Chardonnay is oaked and tastes of stone fruit with honey, caramel and vanilla with grapes harvested from South Eastern Australia. What’s even better is the can comes with a twist-off cap you can use to reseal your beverage if you don’t finish it in one sitting. The cans are 375 milliliters, equivalent to half a bottle of wine.
- Best canned sauvignon blanc: The Sans Sauvignon Blanc is an organic canned wine fromSans Wine Co. The canned sauvignon blanc they produce is refreshing with notes of stone fruit and pear along with hints of honeysuckle. One can is equal to half a bottle of wine.
- Best canned riesling: The Brotherhood Winery is America’s oldest winery, and they’ve put a modern twist on their Brotherhood Winery BAE Riesling by putting it in cans. The BAE riesling is elegant, crisp and refreshing with fresh peaches, honeydew and lemon zest flavors. It’s perfect for a warm summer day by the pool.
- Best canned pinot gris: Enjoy the Union Wine Company Underwood Pinot Gris for a canned wine critics rank highly. It’s an elegant and fresh wine with notes of apple, pear and cucumber and a hint of thyme.
Best Canned Red Wines
Red wines are becoming more popular in canned form as canned wines continue to evolve and develop. Here are some of the best canned red wine options available on the market today:
- Best canned pinot noir: The Dark Horse Pinot Noir is velvety smooth. It’s the best red wine in a can for anyone wanting a medium-bodied option with layered notes of dark cherry, blackberry and strawberry with hints of spiced oak.
- Best canned cabernet sauvignon: The Michael David Freakshow Cabernet Sauvignon is a medium-bodied wine aged in oak barrels for 14 months. The wine has fruity aromas of strawberry jam, fig and Bing cherry and a slight note of spice. You’ll notice flavors of fresh red fruits, toasted hazelnut and clove with a fruit-forward finish.
- Best canned merlot: The Uncanny Wines Merlot has notes of mulberry and dark chocolate, and it’s fruit-forward with a dry finish. The Uncanny Winery is located in South Africa and emphasizes they add no sulfur to their wines.
- Best canned malbec: The Archer Roose Malbec tastes of dark ripe fruit with warm vanilla, blackberry and plum. The grapes for this wine are from the Uco Valley in Mendoza, Argentina.
Best Canned Sparkling Wines
Sparkling wines are what caused the canned wine renaissance back in 2004 with the Copolla Winery’s introduction of the Blanc de Blancs. Since then, there has been an influx of new and exciting sparkling canned wines that are refreshing and perfect for celebrations. Here are some of the best canned sparkling wines available today:
- Best canned wine spritzer: The Three Brothers Cosmic Lime Spritzer is made with all-natural ingredients and is as refreshing as it is delicious. The bright lime taste will awaken your taste buds, making it a unique option for the best sparkling wine in a can. It’s the perfect beverage to bring with you to the beach.
- Best canned sparkling red wine: The Three Brothers Tenacious Red Carbonated Wine is a light red wine blend consisting mainly of Cayuga, riesling and concord. It’s a perfect option for red wine lovers who want something a little more refreshing for a hot day.
- Best canned sparkling white wine: As the wine that created the canned wine revolution, the Copolla Winery Sofia Blanc de Blancs is often considered the best wine in a can. It’s a refreshing blend including pinot blanc, riesling and muscat. You can taste mellow notes of fruits like pears and apples and touches of honeysuckle and citrus.
Best Canned Rosé Wine
- Best canned sparkling rosé wine: For the best rosé wine in a can, consider the Babe Rosé. Three cans of refreshing Babe Rosé are equivalent to an entire bottle, and one can has only 100 calories. It’s a light and sweet rosé with notes of melon.
- Best canned rosé wine: The Dark Horse Rosé is dryer than the sparkling rosé wine in a can Babe produces. It’s bright and crisp with refreshing raspberry and floral notes.
Shop Marketview Liquor’s Extensive Canned Wine Offerings
Canned wine embraces the idea of freedom and flexibility with your beverage choice. There’s something special about cracking open a can of your favorite wine while adventuring outdoors. Bottled wines can be a hassle when you want an easy and portable beverage, so consider trying out some canned options.
Whether you’re a wine aficionado or new to the beverage, canned wines are a great option, and you’re sure to find one that appeals to your tastes.
Marketview Liquor has a wide variety of canned wines you can order online and have delivered to your front door. Shop our canned wine selection today to try something new or purchase a case of your favorites.