Some surprise wine standouts found in cans
Wine packaging made headlines recently. No less than U.S. Senator of New York Chuck Schumer arguing that the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau reduce restrictions on Standard of Fill regulations on wine in cans. (For more information visit: https://www.schumer.senate.gov/newsroom)
Wait. What? Wine in cans?! If you (like me) lift your nose at the idea, maybe you (like me) will remember once disdaining wine with twist-off tops. And aren't we now happy we don't have to hunt for the corkscrew?
So, I tasted for myself.
I'm happy to have found wines ranging from delicious and well-made to credible, in packages that are stackable and lightweight -- reducing energy expended in shipping -- and 100% recyclable. In fact, according to The Aluminum Association, aluminum cans are the most sustainable beverage package with each can containing 70% recycled metal.
Wines were tasted as they might be in the backyard, on the beach or boat, straight from the ice chest -- crisp, cold, or on ice. Cans don't reseal, so impressions were made on first pop. My primary criterion: Would I ask for seconds?
For wines below, yes, please.
Bonterra (California): I'm not surprised (why?) that Bonterra, a leader in earth-friendly wine production, would "think outside the bottle," producing tiptop wines in cans. All made with organic grapes, i.e., grown in 100% certified organic vineyards and containing fewer sulfites than conventional wines. (4-pack of 250ml cans, $18)
Bonterra Rosè: Pale and dry, with a juicy fruit bowl of flavors including watermelon, strawberry, peach and Key lime. Wines are canned with delicate effervescence, a traditional technique that enhances liveliness. For a refreshing cocktail and light dishes.
Bonterra Young Red: Spiced berry flavor and soft tannin make an easy-to-enjoy red wine cocktail and complement to rich salads (cold steak, salmon), lighter BBQ and grills, and rich veggies dishes such as Smoky Roasted Cauliflower and Peppers. (For this and more recipes, visit: www.bonterra.com/bonterra-life)
Joe to Go Pinot Noir (Oregon): Cherry cola for adults! A rich-ish red wine cocktail and complement to light meats and rich finger foods. (Individual can, 375ml, about $7)
Seven Daughters Pinot Noir (Italy): Tastes just like Pinot Noir with bright cherry flavors, ripe tomato accents and a pleasing acidity. A pleasant quaff and food complement, both over ice and slightly chilled. (4-pack of 250ml cans, about $17)
Riondo Prosecco: Top-quality prosecco is banned from cans, so for a splash of bubbly refreshment in single-serve format, opt for a 187ml bottle (about six ounces). While delicious enjoyed at the Friendly Confines, Wrigley Field's mandatory transfer to plastic carafe diminished the fabulous fizz. In this twist-off bambino, delicate and creamy bubbles accent ripe peachy flavors and soft finish. Caveat: To retain the wine's effervescence twist-off caps are sealed on tight! (3-pack of 187ml, about $17)
In all cases, remember: Alcohol is not a thirst-quenching beverage. To avoid dehydration and an ugly morning-after, match wine consumption 1-to-1 with non-alcohol and eat before, during, and after drinking.
While cans represent a tiny portion of overall wine sales, the dramatic growth is a sign their marketers are following all the essential marketing P's, including Packaging and:
Price: Prices are comparable to bottle prices. Each 250ml can equals about eight ounces (a very large glass). A four-pack of 250ml's equals a full bottle plus eight ounces. Each 375ml equals about twelve ounces (two large glasses).
Place: Wines are readily available in major liquor and grocery chains.
To the marketing P's on canned wines, I'll add pleasure, which -- to this lover of good wine and our natural environment -- is high.
Ross' choiceName: Sauvignon Blanc, made with organic grapes, cans
Availability: At major liquor chains and groceries. 4-pack of 250ml cans, $18
Distributed by: Breakthru Beverage, Cicero
Tasting Notes: Bonterra defined the standards of organic wine farming before eco was cool. This Sauvignon Blanc is fresh and inviting with dry flavors of grapefruit, kiwi and a gentle sprinkle of cut herbs. Delicious with my mezze of Mid-East dishes (baba ghanoush, feta, olives) and recommended for any antipasto, Lazy Susan, dim sum or picnic spread. The freshness and delicate effervescence remind me of visiting a winery and tasting new wine directly from the tank.