Don’t you just love how different reporting organizations either use direct numbers or percentages of numbers to give you a feel for how big, small, changed something might be? This is my quandary surrounding the newest wine fad that’s out there. WINE IN A CAN!
At tastings these days, you can’t go without seeing at least one table sitting there with that usually multi-colored and splashy designed aluminum (or for some of you - aluminium) container. Promising its contents are just as multi-colored and splashy and sealed in a way that you no longer have to worry about anything.
So let’s break down some of these facts and delve into the world of WINE IN A CAN.
Going back to numbers first. By almost all measures, the wine-in-a-can (heretofore abbreviated as WIAC) has seen an exponential growth over the last couple years. Seeing estimates of well over 100%! Impressive. Most estimate that the WIAC stands around $28 Million a year. Also impressive. This constitutes the roughly 450 offerings that are currently out there from numerous states and various countries. Not that I think these are small numbers, but compared to the wine industry worldwide, estimates of over $300 Billion, the WIIC comes out to be .000093 (or for you percentage folks .0093%). That’s less than 1/100th of a percent of the overall market! Not as impressive.
Now you can look at this a couple ways. 1. It’s almost non-existent and inconsequential; or, THERE’S A LOT OF ROOM TO GROW! My job right now is not to tell you which way I think it will go. No, it’s merely to have a conversation about it, like the WIAC Industry wants us to have. If we talk about it, there’s a good chance people will think about and actually buy the product, if for no other reason than curiosity.
That part I know to be true because back over 10 years ago (and for me that’s a long time back for me to remember anything) Coppola brought out one of the first WIIC. It was actually a sparkling wine called “Sofia.” Named for Francis Ford Coppola’s daughter, the wine was just as described above. Light, fresh easy drinking. Without chiming in on the more recent debate, it also came with its own pink plastic straw. Now here’s where it gets a little hazier for me, I seem to recall that for a while they stopped the straws citing both a hazard (they were small) but also it made the product look too much like a can of soda or something a minor child might be drinking. (A last minute update: it’s possible that the straws that were pulled came from Pommery Pop, a small bottle of Champagne that had it’s own straw as well). A quick stop at Coppola’s website shows that the pink straw is supplied to the buyer these days.
What else can we say about WIAC? Well, as someone who tries to keep their carbon footprint to a minimum, there is the issue of sustainability and recycling of the cans themselves. Also, while you do still need to watch for temperature extremes, the wine is better protected against air and light. Versatility has to be one of the main selling points. You can take these things almost anywhere. Picnics, the beach, for the music lovers, Ravinia last (not really) but not least, the pool! Easy to keep cold and carry around, one issue (and this could be good or bad depending) is their smaller volume. Most cans are sold as 187 ml or at best 375 ml. Roughly quarter or half a bottle. Not an insurmountable issue. Some producers are now showing cans (similar to beer cans) that can hold a full 750 ml or the equivalent of a full bottle.
So the one thing I haven't yet touched on is taste. That's probably a pretty big item, at least for me! Truth be told, I haven't yet tried even one of them. From the reviews that I've seen and read, I think it would be safe to say "Proceed at your own discretion."
Last caveat! While some of the offerings out there may be priced what one might consider less than a bottle of wine, it’s buyer beware (okay, maybe not beware, but do your math). Convenience will sometimes come at a price. Weigh your options and pricing issue and, if appropriate, jump in!
As an avid collector, I have to mention (although I feel it fairly obvious) that these WIAC’s are not meant to be aged in your cellar for years. Buy them before your event or your need and drink them up within a short period of time (mind you I didn’t say chug).
Find any you really like, shoot me an email to let me know. Maybe it'll be my next “Wine of the Week!” Right now I have to go and add some shelves to my cellar that will hold these darn small cans!!