Give Canned Wine a Chance


Wine in a can is a topic getting a lot of discussion lately. Purists says that the aluminum canister can’t possibly be good for wine, that metal flavors will seep into the wine and that the form factor ruins the experience. And taking a glance at some of the recent poor reviews, it seems as though that may be the case. But there’s an important distinction to be made here: the term “wine in a can” is really a misnomer because most of what is on the market is not really wine at all, just something that loosely resembles wine.
I went on the search for good quality wine in a can and unfortunately I didn’t find many; however, that really had nothing to do with the can -- it’s the stuff companies are putting inside. Today’s modern (and completely safe) liners in aluminum cans prevent metal flavors from leaking in. (In fact, I believe most of what people classify as a metal taste in things like soda pop these days come from the artificial sweeteners used, not the can itself.) However, when companies are filling cans with things like coffee flavored “wine”, or carbonating their red wine, it’s no doubt people are skeptical of this vessel. 
There are of course distinct advantages of cans: 
The canning process is significantly cheaper than bottling.
Aluminum cans are 100% recyclable, collected virtually everywhere and have much higher recycling rates than glass.
They are also quite light weight (much less than the equivalent wine in bottles) which can have a huge impact on shipping costs and emissions. Aluminum cans use about one-tenth the amount of material to contain the same amount of product.
Cans are extremely easy to transport and make a great choice for activities like camping, boating and hunting.
They are also much sturdier than boxes or bags and way better than those pre-filled plastic glasses you may have seen on Shark Tank (which we also sampled in consideration for this story).
In the wines we sampled, the only downside of the can itself was in the experience if you are a big swirl-and-sniffer. Of course, you can always pour the wine into a glass but that defeats part of the purpose. On the flip side, maybe it was just the initial experience but there was something about the convenience and everyday appeal of drinking a wine from a can that I personally enjoyed immensely. And once the wine hits your mouth, it’s all the same anyway -- we were unable to detect any influence of the can on taste at all. 
Here then are three wines in a can that we can heartily recommend, both in terms of the form factor and what is contained inside.
We are always on the look-out for inexpensive Pinot Noir for the masses -- we call it "Pinot Noir for the 99%". There seems to be a gulf between the Pinot Noir that winemakers want to make, and the Pinot Noir that most people want to drink. The Underwood Pinot Noir from Union Wine Company falls squarely in the latter category and that’s a very good thing.
The 2013 Underwood Pinot Noir begins with pleasant aromas of plum, blackberry, cola and a hint of cranberry. Tasting reveals a pretty classic and smooth Oregon Pinot Noir full of cola, black cherry and plum with a hint of spice. Very easy to drink, the 375ml can is gone before you know it. And at pricing equivalent to a $12 bottle, this is an extremely affordable option for Willamette Valley Pinot. It ends long with more black cherry and cola flavors. 
Union Wine Company also produces Willamette Valley’s other Pinot, Pinot Gris, in a can and this one might take to the form factor even better than the Pinot Noir. Offering the ultimate in summertime refreshment, this can will fit easily into all your outdoor activities...and your coolers!
The 2013 Underwood Pinot Gris opens with an attractive aroma of pear, tangerine and some light floral notes. Taking a sip reveals peach, pear, lemon and grapefruit along with just a touch of effervescence that is quite nice. This one doesn't offer much complexity but the whole experience is just downright refreshing. It ends with lingering grapefruit notes on the medium length finish.
Both the Underwood Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris come in a generous 375ml can and sell for $24 for a 4 pack.
Perhaps the very best application of wine in a can is sparkling wine as it’s not something you would normally be swirling anyway. Our recommended pick here is the Coppola Sofia Blanc de Blancs Mini which come in cute little 187ml containers that even have a straw attached to the side. At only 11.5% alcohol this is the perfect way to brighten up your brunch.
The Coppola Sofia Blanc de Blancs Mini is a blend of 70% Pinot Blanc, 20% Sauvignon Blanc and 10% Muscat that has less than 1% residual sugar. Pear, apple, citrus, honey, lemongrass and a little tropical fruit combine with lots of bubbles to make a fresh, light and fun wine. The Sauvignon Blanc in particular is a nice addition to the blend. This one makes a great palate cleanser for salty or fatty foods.

Mentioned in this article


  • Why did you give your and therefore take your reader's time on such a topic? GIVE CANNED WINE A CHANCE --- REALY! This is a filler article that is neither interesting or informative. I'm disappointed in snooth today.

    Apr 07, 2015 at 12:02 PM

  • I had never heard of canned wine so it was not a waste of time for me to read the article.

    Apr 07, 2015 at 2:56 PM

  • I would say pay more to have it in the bottle. Here in Quebec they have started to import wines with big containers and bottling them... It means more preservative ... I think that we are not enjoying wine naturally any more ...

    Apr 07, 2015 at 3:44 PM

  • Snooth User: denalijay
    107629 6

    Gregorio, have you tasted the Union Pinot Noir? I have and based on my taste, this article is not a waste of wine-lovers' time for those of us who like camping, boats or picnics.

    Apr 07, 2015 at 3:56 PM

  • Snooth User: Cait1129
    848154 6

    All due respect, Gregorio- this is a website devoted to wine, not current events. Nearly everything here is "filler" in the sense that it isn't gong to change the world or life in general very much. How, on a wine website, is an article encouraging people do be open to a new way of drinking wine-and thus some new wines- filler? Wine recommendations are informative. Whether a topic is interesting is a matter of opinion. I hate to judge, but something about your tone suggests it's only filler because you don't want to or aren't willing to read it-which, for an article encouraging open-mindedness, is kind of telling.

    Apr 07, 2015 at 4:41 PM

  • BE SERIOUS - CANNED wine!! Those that CAN, versus bottle, wine do so to reduce cost with (ABSOLUTELY!) "ZIP" consideration for the quality of their wine! Bet'cha their profit margin increases doing so as well...!

    Apr 07, 2015 at 5:00 PM

  • Snooth User: amstein
    850971 14

    TIMT in Denver has been canning wine for quite a while - and very good wine at that. It makes it very portable for backpacking, etc - it supports the lifestyle here in Colorado and is also much greener than bottles. I disagree with Snoother - quality is important - probably more so if you want to be successful getting past the stereotypes imposed by people like him.... http://www.theinfinitemonkeytheorem...

    Apr 07, 2015 at 5:12 PM

  • Snooth User: drgallup
    1258386 27

    I have not tried wine in a can but now that I have a few recommendations I might just give it a try. A lot of leading micro-brewers have made the switch to cans and I love it. It's particularly good for vacation as it's lighter, smaller and the cans can be crushed so hauling them out is much easier. Boating is another place where glass is a bad idea.

    Apr 07, 2015 at 5:33 PM

  • Snooth User: billygoat
    1331942 21

    Canned anything is no good!!! I'll have glass thank you!!

    Apr 07, 2015 at 7:03 PM

  • Snooth User: Romas27
    1691869 12

    I discovered that Underwood Pinot Noir well over a year ago and was surprised at how good it was. Bought a couple of cans on a whim just to use as a conversation starter and then I tasted it. The only downside was that I automatically put them in the refrigerator and only realized what I did the next day.
    Strange that a snooth article would praise what snoothy wine drinkers criticize :-)

    Apr 07, 2015 at 8:02 PM

  • Snooth User: dean4wine
    1842571 28

    I sell this wine at the Pour House in Truckee CA as well as the rose. They all rock. And for the haters- ever carry wine to the top of a mountain to celebrate? You'll never carry abottle again!

    Apr 07, 2015 at 8:26 PM

  • "... modern [...] liners in aluminum cans prevent metal flavors from leaking in." Do these liners do equally good job in case the can gets a small dent or another minor damage (which occurs pretty often)? I'm not fully convinced. Why not use the tried-and-true Tetra Brick- or Tetra Prisma-type carton package? It's completely immune to minor mechanical impact and begs even less questions about package-induced flavor. I saw some Italian IGT and Chilean wines in carton and bought them several times for open-air bbqing - quite OK for this purpose.

    Apr 08, 2015 at 5:20 AM

  • Snooth User: Mermaid59
    1601038 26

    As a bartender way down south Texas, where most places only serve beer, we serve both beer and wine. I think that's an awesome idea!!

    Apr 08, 2015 at 2:59 PM

  • Snooth User: dean4wine
    1842571 28

    taking a tetra to altitude(even as low as my hometown- Truckee 6000') has caused expansion beyond the capacity of the package. And 3L is a little much to carry for lunch, maybe?

    Apr 08, 2015 at 3:05 PM

  • 2 dean4wine : "3L is a little much to carry for lunch, maybe?" My Italians in tetra were 1L per carton - not that much for a company of two. But that's not the point, we're speaking about the idea of a lightweight and convenient wine package, right? I just don't see why aluminum cans should be the only choice if there are other viable alternatives like cartons. The problem wih aluminum is easy mechanical damages. As for size, why can't we use juice cartons as small as 0.5L and 0.2L ?

    About altitude... I'm curious, do your local stores ever sell juice in cartons? Do you think opening a can at an altitude will be any better than opening any other airtight package? It's only a matter of the difference in pressures, right?

    Apr 08, 2015 at 4:11 PM

  • Snooth User: dean4wine
    1842571 28

    just an observation. I've seen problems w/ the climber 1L bags and other small cartons. I'm not sure why, I'm not against ANY alternative to glass. Bring em on !

    Apr 08, 2015 at 4:26 PM

  • Gregorio is a wine snob..and he misspelled " really".

    Apr 08, 2015 at 5:27 PM

  • Snooth User: shootertom
    1535060 6

    Thanks for looking at something out of the box.

    Apr 11, 2015 at 4:55 AM

  • Snooth User: alikehippo
    1851742 20

    Thats brilliant

    Apr 18, 2015 at 12:17 AM

  • Its fascinating

    Apr 22, 2015 at 6:15 AM

  • Snooth User: RexSeven
    567379 170

    I recently tried a canned wine from Field Recordings. It is called Fiction, 2013 vintage. 500ml can and it was $10. It is a blend, 40% Zinfandel, 13% Tempranillo, 12% Petite Sirah, 11% Touriga Nacional, 10% Mourvedre, 8% Grenache, 6% Cinsault.

    I'd give a PDG. Great from what it is. A convenient carry along to places out of the way.

    Field Recordings is a pretty decent label. Good wines top to bottom.

    Apr 23, 2015 at 12:55 PM

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