For those who have not yet embraced canned wines, consider their multiple advantages: Cans offer grab-and-go convenience that bottles lack, making them perfect for picnics and the beach. Wines in cans are also smaller than standard bottles, so cracking one open at home is less of a commitment. Cans chill faster, which is cooler-friendly and useful in a pinch. Additionally, they’re made from a light material — aluminum — that has less of an environmental impact when shipping.
But the reasons for buying and enjoying canned wines don’t just hinge on convenience and environmental conscience. While it hasn’t always been the case, the liquid inside the cans has improved dramatically. These products now taste as good as they look.
For this roundup, VinePair tasted more than 100 different wines. The quality of the wines has unquestionably improved compared to previous canned wine tastings. The style of wines represented has also evolved significantly: Alongside simple, “crushable” whites and rosés, we sampled innovative canned orange wines and even sulfite-free natural options. More than two-thirds of the cans we tasted were either white wines or rosés. This makes sense when considering the occasions this packaging is geared toward — like backyard BBQs and picnics — but that doesn’t mean there aren’t great red options.
Whether you’re cracking one open for the very first time or looking for this year’s summer crush, here are our 15 favorite canned wines for 2020, tasted and ranked.
From California’s Central Coast, this Pinot Noir has a decidedly “New World” profile, but also enjoys subtle savory notes. Tart, ripe berry flavors mix with hints of earth, with a tang of cola arriving on the finish. The 13.5 percent alcohol content is on the higher side for a canned wine, so this is one to share.
Introduced in 2013, Union Wine Co.’s Underwood label is one of the pioneers of the canned wine movement. This Oregon rosé is the pick of the bunch from the brand’s nine-strong lineup. With notes of strawberry and nectarine yogurt, and an easy breezy finish, this wine is a true summer treat.
A Merlot and Zinfandel blend from California, this red wine is juicy and approachable. Ripe berries and a cool menthol note lead the palate, followed by a sweet touch of vanilla. With its fruity profile, easygoing tannins, and 12.5 percent alcohol content, this is a red you can enjoy with a slight chill.
From northern Spain’s Navarra region, this is a crisp and refreshing Garnacha blanca. A period of six months aging on lees has added some weight to its texture, while mouthwatering acidity and citrus flavors provide balance. This canned wine is ideal for pre-dinner cheese and meat platters.
This California Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most approachable canned wines we sampled. The palate is light in texture, but full of green- and citrus-fruit flavors. Gentle fizz and a low ABV (just 11 percent!) keep you coming back for more.
There’s lots to unpack from this small-statured offering. The 187-milliliter packaging is perhaps the ideal serving size for a canned wine — especially reds. The wine itself features a Northern Rhone-inspired blend of Syrah and Viognier. The combo delivers bursts of lively fruity on the palate and is light-bodied enough to stick in the cooler.
Most of the canned Chardonnays we tasted featured heavy oak influence, which muted the variety’s refreshing fruit character. But not this one. From New York State, Bridge Lane’s Chardonnay blends apple, citrus peel, and stone fruit notes. The texture is well balanced, with great acidity and a zesty finish.
West + Wilder sells its 250-milliliter cans in handy 3-packs, so one package is the equivalent of a normal-sized bottle. The can’s design is well considered, with a soft-textured, attractive paper label. A Pinot Noir-based rosé from California, this wine is light-bodied, with delicate fruit flavor and floral notes that add a touch of nuance.
This Monterey County rosé is an ideal summer sipper. The palate features a medley of tart strawberry, green apple, and lemon notes. Mouthwatering acidity keeps these flavors lingering long into the refreshing finish. Drink on its own or pair with just about anything.
If you enjoy kombucha or sour beers, consider this canned orange wine from Maryland’s Old Westminster Winery. Driven by racy acidity, the palate is complex and umami rich, with notes of honey, ginger, and dried tomato. The tannins are dialed down compared to typical orange wines, allowing this to be enjoyed at a cool, summer-friendly temperature.
A California blend of Zinfandel, Syrah, and Petite Sirah, this 13-percent-ABV red is surprisingly quaffable. Each sip delivers rich, red berries from start to finish, lifted by fresh acidity. Enjoy with salads, gourmet sandwiches, or grilled white meats.
This bubbly rosé maintains its effervescence better than most of the sparkling canned wines we tried — especially when poured into a glass. That’s particularly important when the serving size is 375 milliliters, as you’ll likely want to share. Or maybe you won’t, especially after tasting the wine’s delicious mix of stone fruits, raspberries, and lemon.
New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is a great option for summer imbibing, with its light body, bright gooseberry and lime notes, and zippy acidity. This canned wine is a textbook example of that profile. A hint of minerality and a spray of citrus on the finish round it out to make this a must-buy.
The packaging may look fun, but there’s serious wine inside this can. Made in California, the blend is an unusual combination of Barbera, Grenache, Syrah, and Pinot Noir. But it works. You can pour it into a glass and appreciate its Provençal-style pale pink color. Or simply sip from the can to enjoy a concentrated palate, rich in stone- fruit, raspberry, strawberry, and melon notes.
Made with grapes grown in Italy’s Veneto region, the wine is intensely fruity, both on the palate and nose — even if you don’t decide to pour it into a glass. Notes of green apple and citrus fruits mix with a hint of pineapple. Racy acidity helps those fruit flavors continue long into a persistent finish. This is exactly what great Pinot Grigio tastes like.