The 9 Best Canned Wines
Just in time for picnic season, canned wine is suddenly all the rage. Ray Isle pops some tops to find the very best canned wine to buy this summer.
What's so wrong about wine in a can? Even now, mention it to someone and the usual response runs the range between “Ew” and “Really?” Of course, that’s what people used to say about screw caps—which now account for about 30 percent of all the wine produced in the world. (And not just the cheap stuff: In Australia, Penfolds bottles its $500 Bin 707 Cabernet with a screw cap, albeit a very snazzy one.)
Consider the upsides. Cans are portable and easy to chill—both crucial considerations during the summer months. You can take them places where bottles are a pain in the neck, like the beach or an overnight camping trip. You can buy a single serving if that’s the sort of person you are (i.e., not me). They’re inexpensive. And they’re environmentally friendly: light—hence a low carbon footprint—and with a substantially higher recycling rate than glass. They’re also getting popular, quickly.
To give one example, Union Wine Co. first released its Underwood canned wines in 2014. In 2019, more than half their 515,000-case production was in cans. More anecdotally, every time I think I’m done tasting for this story, I get an email about another new launch. I’ve tasted dozens recently. Sure, some were weird: clunky, metallic, you name it. But you’ll see that in any broad selection of bargain wines. The best were delightful—full of flavor, juicy and no different than what you’d find in one of those old-fashioned things they used to put wine in…what were they called? Oh, right. Bottles.
Brisk and full of berry fruit, this Argentinian rosé also happens to be made entirely from organically grown grapes. Chill out on a raft in a pool with it, and bask in the knowledge that your life is (at least at this moment) chemical-free.
Union became the top success story in canned wine thanks to its hard-to-resist Pinot Noir. This light, refreshing rosé
is no less appealing.
Napa Valley–based winemaker Evan Frazier’s citrusy Lodi Albariño has a cult following in its bottled form. Now he’s putting 25 percent of the wine in cans.
NV Frico By Scarpetta ($13 for 4 cans)
This northern Italian sparkler, a blend of Trebbiano, Glera, and Chardonnay that comes in small 250-ml cans, has a mandarin orange accent.
NV Vinny Sparkling Blanc ($20 for 4 cans)
Thomas Pastuszak, who in his sommelier life runs wine for The Nomad, created this appley-citrusy sparkling blend to highlight the grapes of New York’s Finger Lakes wine region, where he’s from. It’s zesty and super-refreshing, ideal for the beach.
NV Nomikai Fizzy Rosé ($16 for 4 cans)
Bright, fresh and made by a talented husband-and-wife team of winemakers from California (Ryan and Megan Glaab), this is a serious step up from most fizzy wines in cans.
2016 Nomadica California Rosé ($24 for 4 cans)
This vino-plus-art start-up based in Los Angeles features an ever-changing array of artist-designed labels. The berry-scented dry rosé is especially intriguing.
Ramona ($20 for 4 cans)
Star sommelier Jordan Salcito’s first iteration of Ramona—Sicilian sparkling wine mixed with ruby red grapefruit juice—
was a massive hit. Now she’s come up with an equally tasty lemon version. And yes, technically this project is a spritzer. But as one F&W colleague said: “Who cares? Greatest thing ever for brunch!”
California winemaker Andrew Jones uses top-quality Central Coast fruit for this impressive Pinot, full of ripe cherry flavors with a hint of rhubarb. Plus, these tall-boy cans hold about three glasses apiece. Hamburgers off the grill, anyone?