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If you feel like a swig of pale rosé or bubbly English wine while on a hike, at a muddy festival, or sitting on the train down to Penzance this summer, don’t be surprised if you find yourself reaching for a can. Yes, wine in a can is now a thing: sales have grown by 263% over the last three years and they are set to get much bigger as a new generation of wine cans becomes more widely available.
Once, cans were the anti-glamour: receptacles for bunker food like baked beans, Spam and cheap beer. The new wine cans are a different beast. Sometimes beautiful to look at and often filled with wine you’d happily order by the glass in a swish bar or at home, wine cans also hit a number of other contemporary markers.
Sustainability? Tick. They’re made from recyclable aluminium. Convenience? Tick. They’re light to carry, require no glass and the slim 250ml styles slip easily into a bag. Instant gratification? Tick. A thin metal can cools quickly and is easy to open.
As with the craft beer movement and the resurgence of small-batch distilling, canned wine is a trend that started in the States. ‘I lived in America for seven years and on the west coast canned wine was getting big,’ says Henry Connell, co-founder of a new brand of carbonated English wine in a can that launched last year. ‘Then I moved back to England, which had just started to become famous for good sparkling and aromatic whites. I thought: ‘Why not combine the two?’ There’s a younger, open-minded drinker out there and I felt there wasn’t anything to appeal to them.’
This year, the original The Uncommon Bubbly White (a sharp, nettley white that is reminiscent of hedgerows and gently carbonated) is joined by a pink version, The Uncommon Bubbly Rosé (made from pinot noir). At £4.99- £5.99 per 25cl can, and available in-store at Waitrose & Partners and Selfridges, they’re not cheap, but this reflects the style ambitions of the new canned wine.
Another new kid on the block this year is Nice Drinks, a company founded by millennial food and drink consultants Lucy Wright and Jeremy May, ‘after Lucy stumbled on wine in a can while scrolling through Instagram.’ Wright and May started with the easy-drinking Nice sauvignon blanc and rosé (both sold in Sainsbury’s at £2.80) ‘because we felt that wine in a can would be something you’d want to drink chilled,’ though they are considering adding a red to the range.
There are many other canned wines around, including a sparkling Italian white called Gigglewater, Chateau Maris, and wines from the Most Wanted range. My favourite of all, though, is Mirabeau Pret-a-Porter (£3.49, Waitrose), a dry rosé made from syrah and grenache, grown around the French Med. You may already know Mirabeau’s bottled rosé, and the Pret-a-Porter does not disappoint. It’s rosé to go, and a good size for the times when you want just the one glass at home.
Read more articles by Victoria…
Why you should be drinking French malbec
Why rosé wine is the perfect drink for summer
My pick of the best bank holiday wines
Treat your mum to sauvignon blanc
How to choose wine
Unusual wines to try in 2019
7 ways to survive the party season
High spirits as rum sales soar
How an Italian grows wine in India
Victoria Moore is an award-winning wine columnist and author. Her most recent book is the The Wine Dine Dictionary (£20, Granta).
All prices correct as of June 2019.