Donald Trump is running for president, and while there was a time when those headlines seemed implausible, here’s another headline you can check off the “never thought I’d live see that” list: Consumers Who Scoff At Canned Wines Are Missing Out.
For one thing, a classic beer-sized can of wine (375ml) is equivalent to a half bottle of wine. That’s right. One can equals a half a bottle of wine. So if you crush two cans before the first quarter of the game is over, you’ll be the life of the party (or asleep).
And while the concept of “wine in can” has previously been relegated to the level of “wine cooler,” the fact is, prominent winemakers are making very good wine and putting it in cans—and with good reason: the cans are lightweight, cheap, recyclable, and well-suited for wines that are not meant to age. No one is putting Grand Cru Burgundy in cans (at least not yet).
Canned wines are often light, fresh, and fruity. They’re typically lower in alcohol, some have a touch of residual sugar, and many are a bit fizzy. And perhaps most importantly, they are transforming picnic baskets around the world, providing a novel way for Ivy League elitists to get in on the fun of funneling.
Drinking wine in a can won’t make you the president, or even qualify you to run for president, but it sure will make you feel like a boss. And before long, you’ll be on your pedestal, shouting: “You’re fired!” But first, let’s get you lit up with these five-kick ass wines in a can.
INFINITE MONKEY THEOREM
Grapes: Available in white, red, moscato, rosé, and dry-hopped pear cider
Price: $15 four-pack
Ben Parsons, a British expat living in Denver who founded a “no pretense,” urban “back-alley winemaking” center, is a mad-man winemaker who is making wine fun. He’s also ramping up production of his canned wines. “We’ll do 20,000 cases this year (480,000 cans), up from 5,000 cases (120,000 cans) last year,” he told Irene Virbilia of the L.A. Times. Favorites are the white, which is lightly effervescent and citrus-driven, and the rosé, which is loaded with ripe red-berry fruit and touch of sweetness. The label design featuring a chimp was crafted by Zach Larmer, a Grammy-winning indie album cover artist.
SOFIA MINI BLANC DE BLANCS
Grapes: Available in Blanc de Blancs sparkling (a blend of pinot blanc, riesling, and Muscat)
Price: $20 four-pack
It’s named after Francis Ford Coppola’s daughter, but Francis doesn’t make this wine. Corey Beck does. Beck is a badass winemaker who was trekking through famous vineyards alongside his grandfather when Coppola was making Italian-Americans look like the mob bosses we all wish we were. Sofia is critical to this list because Coppola was an early adopter of the wine-in-a-can packaging option, having first introduced Sofia in 2004. (Bonus: It comes with a straw!) The wine is fresh and zesty, redolent of ripe pear and tropical fruit notes. It’s refreshing and perfect for picnics, and might even jazz up that one nightly cigarette you have on your Juliet balcony, shaking your head at “all the hipsters” down below.
Grapes: Available in pinot noir, pinot gris, and rosé
Price: $24 four-pack
If this isn’t the most popular wine in a can out there, I don’t know what is. Actually, I do know, because it’s my job to know. It’s Sofia, by Francis Ford Coppola, which we just discussed. But this Underwood is gaining ground. I love this wine because it’s the same size of a classic can of beer or soda, and what most people don’t realize is that the classic can is 375ml—which is exactly half a bottle of wine. I recently picked up a single can of the Underwood pinot noir from Wholefoods, and people, let me tell you: It was tasty. It was juicy and fruit-driven, all strawberries and dark cherries, but there was earth and mineral, and there was complexity (and there went an entire half bottle in just a few fine gulps). They’ll tell you it’s hard to “keep your pinky up when you’re drinking wine from a 375ml can,” but I say, it’s hard not to, because drinking wine from a can is the new Bentley.
“FICTION” BY FIELD RECORDINGS
Grapes: Available in pinot noir and grenache rosé
Price: $40 four-pack
The last time I got drunk on this wine, I was living in Los Angeles and it was hot as hell. Now I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, where real wine professionals go to become wine gods, and writers, such as myself, go to raise the bar of wine journalism from our bully pulpits. So, stand with me wine drinkers! Rise up and fill your hopeful bellies with the juice of my words (and with a can of “Fiction”), for let it be writ of Andrew Jones’ Field Recordings wines from Paso Robles that this rosé of grenache isn’t stranger than fiction—it’s better. Jones’ bio presents him as an affable farmer who was born to tend vines and has “stood in just about every vineyard on the Central Coast.” That’s a lot of standing, Andrew! So, when you’re swallowing this guy’s uber-crushable Fiction, just picture Andrew, standing in front of a grapevine, imagining all the ways he’s going to pick those grapes; crushing their delicate skins, extracting the life blood of their pulpy bodies, only to let it ferment and turn into liquid intoxication—soon to be canned for your imbibing pleasure.
ALLOY WINE WORKS
Grapes: Available in pinot noir and grenache rosé
Price: $30 four-pack
This canned wine is also produced by Andrew Jones of Field Recordings. Jones worked with the design firm Makers & Allies to come up with a label that would have a blue-collar, utterly anti-elitist appeal. The design is so effective that I wonder if old Henry Ford himself isn’t thinking of coming back from the dead to get into the canned wine business. And what does a blue-collar wine in a can taste like? The grenache rosé is all tropical fruit notes and the pinot is all dark red cherry and lofty spice—but not like Sporty Spice, of course; more like Posh Spice.