11 Canned Wines For A Thirsty Crowd

From sparkling to spritzers, red, white and rosé, enjoy this informal survey of canned wine exploring numerous options.
Our can-do tasting team (left to right) Carrie Dykes, Jameson Fink and Layla Schlack / Photo by Meg Baggot

Recently, Wine Enthusiast featured a boxed wine on its cover as the highest ranked red on our 2016 Best Buys list. Why not explore another alternative: wine in a can? Canned wines and spritzers have become more prevalent over the years and general quality has risen in kind, so we sat down to taste an assortment.

There’s no methodology here, just Senior Digital Editor Jameson Fink, Tasting Coordinator Carrie Dykes and Senior Associate Editor Layla Schlack tasting and talking about our favorites of the bunch. The overall verdict? Yes, we can.

Underwood NV Sparkling (Oregon); $28/375ml 4 pack

100% Chardonnay

Carrie: The bubbles are a little overpowering, but otherwise it is very similar to Prosecco, with white peach flavors and a hint of sweetness.

Layla: Yeah, it’s a more soda-like carbonation, but this is good. Clean and crisp. I could see drinking this at a picnic—a nice one, with good cheeses and charcuterie. It leaves a faintly bitter aftertaste, but food would cover that up.

Jameson: Stay gold, Underwood. This golden can of fizz is clean and refreshing with a bit of body, too. I see bringing this to a mobile brunch.

Selection of cans
The contenders / Photo by Meg Baggott

Hoxie Blanc Lemon Linden Spritzer; $14/250ml 4 pack

A blend of Catawba, Vidal Blanc and Rayon d’Or from Missouri with lemon and linden extract.

Carrie: This spritzer is definitely crushable. It is slightly reminiscent of a weak mojito, which I guess I’m into.

Layla: It smells like Sprite, right? It tastes a bit like it, too, with a lightly sweet, lemony taste. I could drink a lot of these on their own—maybe too many—but the sweetness might get to me eventually. Add a splash of gin to bring out some of the herbal and floral notes from the linden, and we’re in business.

Jameson: Fresca-esque refreshment. Very easy to drink.

Layla: Yes, Fresca! Not Sprite, Fresca.

Carrie: Now I’m wondering if there is Linden in Fresca, and if they should relaunch as a health tonic.

Ramona Pink Grapefruit Wine Cooler; $19/250ml 4 pack

Organic Sicilian Zibibbo grapes with natural grapefruit flavors.

Carrie: This label has my heart. I’m a sucker for retro design. Beauty isn’t only can-deep. Definitely more of a wine cocktail, it’s explosive with bright, ruby red grapefruit and a soft berry sweetness.

Wine Enthusiast staff drinking wine of cans in the middle of the afternoon on a Wednesday
Hard at work on a Wednesday afternoon / Photo by Meg Baggott

Layla: First reaction: It smells like real grapefruit! It’s very juicy and real, but the honey notes get a little cloying. I’d love this with a savory or spicy brunch spread. I’m with you on the label.

Carrie: True, I wonder how it would be mixed with Cava to tone down the fruit? Or with club soda, to make a “spritzer spritzer.”

Jameson: It’s a flavor bomb of sweet grapefruit tempered by a dose of bubbles. Perfect hair of the dog.

Sofia NV Mini Blanc de Blancs (California); $20/187ml 4 pack

A blend of 70% Pinot Blanc, 15% Riesling, 15% Muscat.

Carrie: The straw is clutch! It’s perfect for a day at the beach, park, in your lunch bag, anywhere (permissible).

Layla: It’s just adorable. You could probably put just about anything fizzy in this little can with this little straw, and I wouldn’t be mad at it. I want to drink it on a rooftop. Nice fizziness levels and fruitiness. Definitely benefits from being served cold.

Jameson: Jeez, Layla, beat me to “adorable” and now I have to think of another word. The can is just so…charming. And it’s fun to drink with the flexible straw. I feel happy and silly.

Carrie: Does it make you feel bubby, Jameson?

Jameson: Yes. Yes, it does.

An array of canned wines
Covering the color spectrum / Photo by Meg Baggott

Social Pink Grapefruit Ginger Sparkling Saké; $10/10oz 4 pack

Carrie: This is my new summer jam: super zesty and refreshing with a slight creaminess from the saké.

Layla: Nice grapefruit, nice spicy ginger notes, but what really makes this for me is the toasty, creamy rice flavors from the saké. It keeps this out of too-sweet territory for me.

Jameson: Nice subtle rice flavor brought home with a strong ginger punch. Does it even need sweetener?

Carrie: I, too, wonder what it would taste like without any sweetener. Saké can have a light, condensed milk flavor that might be enough.

The Infinite Monkey Theorem NV White; $15/250ml 4 pack

A blend of 85% Chardonnay and 15% Chenin Blanc.

Carrie: Almost cidery, with lots of green apple and very smooth, tiny bubbles. These monkeys are on their way to producing the Hamlet of canned wines.

Layla: Yes. Tiny bubbles in the wine make me happy, make me feel fine. I love the label, and the can is the perfect size. It’s light, bright, sweet, refreshing and apple-y. It doesn’t feel like drinking wine exactly, but it’s very pleasant just the same.

Jameson: Fizzy and…again, I’m late to the party with my descriptor usage, as “crushable” has already been taken. How about just pull a can directly out of an icy cooler?

Alloy Wine Works 2015 Chardonnay (Central Coast); $30/500ml 4 pack

Carrie: Big enough to split, you can still employ the ceremony of wine by pouring it into a glass, looking at the color, swirling and shoving your nose in there. But now, you can add a new ritual by tapping the can before hearing the hiss of it opening.

Layla: This one doesn’t really taste like a canned wine. It’s good. There’s a hint of that Chard oakiness, but it’s pretty light. I like that this is big enough to split, but I don’t know that I’d want to.

Jameson: I like oak in Chardonnay, and this was pretty textbook Cali Chard, if you don’t fear the barrel.

Porch Pounder 2015 Chardonnay (Central Coast); $25/12oz 4 pack

Carrie: Excellent name. Fresh pineapple aromas and a nice easy-drinking wine make this a very light Chard.

Layla: Light and zingy, with lots of lemon zest and pineapple. There’s a bit of an aftertaste, like licking an envelope. You guys don’t get that? I don’t actually mind it. All around, a solid porch wine.

Carrie: I love this description.

Jameson: Well, I haven’t licked an envelope in a while. I’ll say this: I wouldn’t pound it on a porch, but I’d share a can with a friend.

Empty cans after the tasting
Don’t forget to recycle / Photo by Meg Baggott

Alloy Wine Works 2015 Everyday Rosé (Central Coast); $30/500ml 4 pack

25% Grenache, 25% Mourvèdre, 25% Chenin Blanc, 25% Zinfandel

Carrie: This rosé actually smells like rose water and has a lovely strawberry creaminess on the palate. Slightly herbaceous and silky.

Jameson: Medium-bodied rosé, a bit darker than your typical Provençal pink. Smelled and tasted like a wine I want to drink often. Finish was more fruity than austere.

Layla: Rosé water! That’s what it is. If this were a perfume, I’d wear it. I really like the rosé water-and-grapefruit thing it has going on. It’s also very fresh and finishes with a bit fruity. Pretty, darkish pink color. I, too, want to drink a lot of it.

Jameson: I am pro-rosé perfume.

Carrie: I wish to bathe in this.

Field Recordings 2014 Fiction Red (Paso Robles); $40/500 ml 4 pack

 A blend of 36% Zinfandel, 18% Mourvedre, 14% Grenache, 12% Syrah, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Tempranillo and 4% Viognier.

Carrie: A kitchen-sink blend that has great Rhône-style fruit, silky tannins and a plush, fruity finish. Lots of red cherries with a hint of sandalwood come through, but the Zinfandel qualities are kept at bay, which I’m O.K. with.

Layla: Good tannins, nice cherry and tobacco, a bit sweet on the finish. This is a good food wine. I could see it with a roast chicken or just about any type of sandwich. Jameson, do you have a roast chicken handy?

Jameson: Unfortunately, all I have is tofu and hot sauce in the fridge. Can we get one delivered? This wine definitely says, “Bring on the grilled meat.” Some oak flavor and a bit of tannin, and a touch fruity.

Porch Pounder 2014 Red (Paso Robles); $25/4 pack

Pinot Noir/Merlot blend

Carrie: If you were served this out of a glass, you would have no idea it was poured from a can. Great tannins and smoky red berry complexity make this a sneaky little gem.

Layla: Really rich and earthy, with some nice berries to round things out. This is good.

Jameson: What I expect from a Paso red—lots of oomph from tannins and zesty fruit.

Carrie: I want to Paso some to my friends.

The tasters toasting
Celebrating a hard day’s research / Photo by Meg Baggott

The above comments are not official reviews from the Wine Enthusiast tasting team. For ratings and reviews, visit the Buying Guide.

Published on January 17, 2017
Topics: Wine Trends


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