Before corks became so popular, vintners would often stop bottles with a rag. Yes, a rag. And although this switch happened way back in the 1800s, it’s not hard to imagine people having a hard time getting on board with cork… just like it’s taken people a while to accept that a screw-top doesn’t mean the wine is bad. But wine snobs are really going to need to adjust to the latest trend: canned wine.
Don’t turn your nose up. Remember that the vessel is no indicator of what’s inside. A beautiful corked bottle of wine could be garbage, while a funky, fun can could hold sweet elixir. Just like books: Don’t judge a wine by its packaging. “For so long, wines especially were so rigid in their packaging and marketing, and it’s refreshing to see companies take on new packages, design, etc.,” says Joey Wölffer, co-owner of Wölffer Estate Vineyards. Her winery started making cider in bottles six years ago and added the canned option this past spring. “There are so many benefits to cans from storage to portability to the eco-friendly factor. … The cans we use for our ciders have no effect on the taste of the product.”
In addition to looking great, cans afford you the option of easier drinking on the go: they’re perfect for picnics, BBQs and beaches—especially ones where glass isn’t allowed. Below we’ve gathered the top canned wines and ciders, selected by bartenders and sommeliers from around the U.S. And as Joey says, the best way to enjoy them is “cold and with good company!”
Wölffer Rosé Cider
We start the list with Joey’s own Wölffer No. 139. It comes in both dry rosé cider and dry white cider. Both are crisp and refreshing. I know because it was a staple in my fridge all summer: It’s delicious, and I don’t even like cider. And I’m not the only fan. “Although not a wine, it is a super fan favorite amongst us drinks geeks,” says thirsty. co-founder Tara Fougner.
Roni Ginach, wine director of Michael’s Santa Monica, was one of our first profiles for Wine of the Week. (Read it here.) So of course we had to go back to her and ask about her favorite canned wine: “I like the Hoxie Spritzers,” she tells us. “My favorite is probably the Lemon Linden Blanc. It is citrus-forward and fresh. And the spritzers are made of all natural ingredients so you don’t feel awful the next day. They are super easy to drink and not overloaded with sugar.”
“Wine doesn’t have to be this hard” is the slogan at Underwood, where they offer five varieties of canned wine. The laidback winery has found a fan in Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins, the chef of San Diego tequila bar El Jardin.
“I love the Underwood wines,” Claudette says. “The rosé, specifically, because I’m basic and extra all at the same time.”
Nomadica Oregon White blend
Another one of Claudette’s favorites is the Nomadica’s Oregon White blend. Produced in Eugene, Oregon, the canned wine was made in the classic Rhone style with a blend of Marsanne, Roussane and Viognier grapes. You’ll taste notes of peach, pear, orange and more. “It was very tasty,” Claudette says. Plus, she offers a pro tip for enjoying the trendy treats: “I find that I enjoy canned wine the most when it is super cold.”
Ruza Rosé—a favorite of Amy Racine, beverage director of The Loyal in New York—combines two great summer trends: rosé and cans. Two sommeliers cultivate grapevines in Lodi, California, grown specifically for rosé, and use a “direct press” process that creates the best rosé possible. The result is a “white cherry, lemon zest, rhubarb” flavor, says Amy.
Dear Mom Wine Co.
Another favorite of Amy’s is the Dear Mom Oregon White Wine. With a Syrah/Viognier blend, the white blend has “bright cherry, plum and lavender” notes, she says. The company—boasting even more wines from its home state—also sells Oregon rosé and Oregon red by the can. Best of all, proceeds of every can goes to a rotating monthly charity that benefits mothers. Now that is a wine we can support!
Frico by Scarpetta
With a social handle like @Lambrusco574, it’s no surprise that Jacqueline Pirolo, a managing partner and beverage director of Miami Beach’s Macchialina chose a canned Lambrusco.
“Lambrusco—a dry sparkling, refreshing wine, when made correctly—can be the perfect picnic wine; it can carry you through an antipasti selection all the way through a bolognese and bottom line, it’s just so fun to drink,” she explains. “Frico by Scarpetta is a great canned wine to throw in the cooler for those hot, Miami Beach days!”
(See Jacqueline’s past Wine of the Week pick here.)
Ramona Ruby Grapefruit Wine Spritz
Not everyone is a fan of canned wines from the jump, though, including Belinda Chang (our very first Wine of the Week sommelier!). “I have never loved canned wine from my first taste of Sofia when it started the whole thing in 2003 (sorry, Coppola Family—I like your wines in glass bottles better!),” she says. But all that changed when she sipped Ramona. “It’s the first canned wine that I have loved. Because it is wine, but it isn’t only a wine. It’s inspired by spritzes and wine coolers, and it is delicious.”
And don’t let the neon label fool you: Ramona Ruby Grapefruit Wine Spritz is organic, all natural, gluten free, and vegan. You’ll probably like it if you, like Belinda, enjoy other grapefruit drinks: “Because I already have La Croix Pamplemousse and Perrier Ruby Grapefruit habits, it is firmly in my canned beverage flavor zone,” Belinda laughs.
It says it right in the name: Backpack Wine is perfect on-the-go wine. But it’s also great if you’re sitting down for a nice dinner: American Harvest, a fast-casual restaurant in Florida, carries it—and for good reason.
“Canned wines provide the advantage of portability while safeguarding quality: Think of it like a mini-keg—the wine is protected against light and oxygen,” says Eddie Acevedo, COO of Miami-based Grove Bay Hospitality Group (which owns American Harvest). “Brands like Backpack go the extra mile to provide a quality product that can be enjoyed in settings typically reserved for beer drinkers.”
The winery’s red, rosé, and white blends are sourced from Washington State vineyards.
The Pinot Project
“With Fall approaching and cooler temperatures setting in, I tend to start reaching more and more for red wines,” explains thirsty. co-founder Tara Fougner. “Pinot Project’s Pinot Noir is a lighter California style Pinot and a great option to ease you through that seasonal transition and is great value at the price.”
The Pinot Project offers a variety of wines in bottles, and recently started a canned packaging option, says Tara,”which makes this a perfect red wine to put into a picnic basket, enjoy at an outdoor party … or hey, crack one open while you are watching Sunday Football if that’s more your thing.”