Of all the trends in the wine world, the canned wine craze is arguably the hardest for serious drinkers to swallow. It isn’t conducive to swirling, sniffing, swooshing or any of the other rituals associated with drinking it out of a glass. You can’t inspect the colors or the sediments of a wine, nor can you “let it breathe.”
But there are far too many upsides to canned wine to turn your nose up about it entirely. It’s convenient and portable. Unlike bottles, cans don’t carry the risk of cork taint or UV damage. And compared to glass, it’s the environmentally-friendly choice—according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, 50.4 percent of aluminum beer and soft drink cans get recycled compared to 31.3 percent for glass containers. Aluminum stays cooler for longer, so if you’re planning a beach day or a park hangout, canned wine is the clear winner. Plus, in an industry-backed blind taste test, only 48.5 percent preferred the taste of bottled wine compared to 45.3 percent who preferred the canned version (5.8 percent had no preference).
But perhaps the most compelling argument in favor of canned wine is its buzz factor. A 350 mL can—which you can discreetly slip into a tote or pocket—is the alcohol equivalent of a half a bottle of wine.
So with that in mind, here are 10 of our favorite canned wines, just in time for summer.
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Everything You Could Ever Need For A Beach Day
Is it summer without a glass (or can, in this case) of rosé in hand? Of all the ones we sampled, this sparkly option was the easiest to drink, which is both a good and bad thing. It’s on the sweet side, so you can down it pretty easily. That said, if you don’t want to spend the next day in bed, we suggest not overdoing it.
The Low Sugar Option
This sugar-free pinot gris is 100 calories and sounds like it would lack flavor but you notice notes of elderflower, pear, and grapefruit immediately. It’s crisp and effervescent and tastes more like a seltzer than it does wine—which is great if you’re planning a long afternoon of drinking in the sun.
The Sommelier-Approved Pick
The founder of Ramona, Jordan Salcito, is the former sommelier and beverage director of Eleven Madison Park and Momofuku. So if there’s a canned wine brand to be taken seriously, it’s this one. The ruby grapefruit spritz is an organic Sicilian wine made with Zibibbo grapes and blended with grapefruit juice. It’s bright, refreshing, and the sort of thing you’ll want to sip on while lounging by the pool.
The Surprisingly Good Red
I have to admit: I’m still warming up to the thought of drinking red wine from a can. But this Pinot Noir from Oregon’s Umpqua Valley is impressively well balanced with cherry, blackberry, and other dark fruit flavors and a medium finish. If you’re looking for a wine you can enjoy during a camping trip, when the evening chill sets in, this is the one.
The Sweet Treat
If this California white is good enough for Francis Ford Coppola and his daughter, Sofia—to whom the wine is dedicated—it’s good enough for us. A blend of Pinot Blanc, Riesling, and Muscat, it’s a sweet but easy-drinking dessert wine. The cans are tiny, so you can toss a few into your bag with a straw and sneak them into the movies.
The New Wine-Related Beverage to Know
Piquette isn’t technically wine; it’s a low-alcohol beverage made from the remains of the grape pulp, stems, and seeds after a wine has been crushed and pressed. This piquette is from Mendocino County and has been blended with Riesling, so it’s mildly boozy while still being zesty and refreshing. There’s only a limited amount made, so if you want it, act fast.
The Picnic and Beach-Ready Option
With peach and watermelon flavors, this salmon-pink rosé screams summer. Unlike the other canned rosés we tried, this one has surprisingly good body so you don’t feel like you’re downing sugar water the entire day. That said, it’s still refreshing enough to withstand drinking when it’s 100 degrees with 70% humidity.
The Sustainable One
While I can’t say this is the finest example of Argentinian Malbec I’ve ever tried, this red from the Uco Valley is smooth and sustainably made, smelling like dark fruits. If you’re grilling in the park or at the beach, this canned wine would pair well with a steak, burger, or ribs.
For the Person Who Doesn’t Like Wine
The blush-pink color of this sparkling “wine” would have you fooled into thinking it was made from grapes. In fact, this rosé cider is exclusively made from dessert apples (Golden Delicious, Northern Spy, Jonagold) grown in New York State. Best served chilled, this fruity drink is crisp, clean, and refreshing. Think of it as a bridge between wine and beer, except with a hint of sweetness.
The New World Take on an Old-World Classic
If you like a dry Provence-styled rosé, with floral notes and delicate fruit flavors, you’ll like this blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Malvasia (an ancient grape variety with Mediterranean origins). A bit of fizz makes it especially refreshing for summer.