That’s right. Don’t let the haters nor the reputation fool you. Canned wine is here and it’s – actually – pretty damn good.
Over this summer, I drank a lot of wine. A fair bit of Aperol and Campari too, but mostly wine. For me, summer is a chance for spontaneity: impromptu trips to the beach or lake, long bike rides or hikes, and big group get-togethers.
The one challenge with wine is that it always required a little bit of planning.
Spur-of-the-moment wine pairings were challenging, whether that meant I had to quickly chill down bottles of Donnhoff and Saetti before a barbecue (if you’ve never paired Riesling or Lambrusco with your grilled meat, then you haven’t lived). For picnics or day trips, it’s easy enough to saber a bottle of Stolpman Vineyard’s Pet Nat, but much harder to crack open a bottle of Dufaitre’s Côte de Brouilly when you’ve forgotten your corkscrew.
On the flipside, cans have always been supremely easy to pack and even easier to quaff. As drinkers, we’ve always accepted beer in a can and, with the world domination of La Croix, canned water is now as ubiquitous as its bottled brethren. Jordan Salcito created Ramona, the country’s coolest wine cooler, by mixing the tangy Sicilian white grape Zibbibo (aka Muscat of Alexandria) with grapefruit juice. Refreshing but not overly sweet, these cans are unabashedly fun.
I’ve given cans to red-blooded Texans and to East Coast millennials. Everyone loves it. Like Pizza Bagel Bites, you could drink Ramona in the morning (think Mimosa in a can!) or in the evening before dinner as an aperitif, or in the afternoon at the beach.
Elsewhere, Master Sommelier and Master Marathoner, Bobby Stuckey, extended his Friuli-focused winery Scarpetta to include a canned mix of Glera (the main grape in Prosecco) and Trebbiano. If LaCroix were to make wine, that’s what Frico Frizzante would taste like.
The first time I tasted Scarpetta’s Frico Frizzante, it was after a hot and humid 10K run. My friend packed some chilled cans and, within minutes, they were guzzled.
Since then, I’ve added the Frico Frizzante to the wine list at my bar. It’s a fantastic option for guests who want something crisp and easy to drink. Also an easy lateral from Prosecco or Sauvignon Blanc. Even guests looking for something sweet, like a Moscato, have been wooed by the effusive, citrusy flavor of Frico Fizz.
For canned wine to exist beyond kitschy novelty, it has to taste good. My rule of of thumb has been to pour the wine into another vessel: Zalto, a SOLO cup, whatever. Does it still taste good? In this case, the answer is HYFR.
If either Ramona or Scarpetta Frico Fizz were bottled instead of canned, they would still be equally fantastic. The eco-friendly, convenient packaging is just the icing on the cake.
Now I don’t need to pack a corkscrew on my way to the beach!
Chris Poldoian is a certified sommelier and a member of the Houston Sommelier Association. He runs Camerata, an exceptional wine bar in Houston that specializes in lesser known varietials and old world regions. Track Chris’s adventures and the latest in Houston’s wine scene on Instagram – and be sure to pop into Camerata when in town.