Wine in a can is being taken more seriously by the pundits.
Canned wine may currently be getting consumers’ attention but it’s nothing new – in the mid-1930s, three sweet wines in cans made their appearance on the American market: Californian Smile with Vin-Tin-Age Port, Tokay and Muscadel. They were packaged in flat-top tins (as pull-tops were not yet invented), which had to be punctured in order to pour out the contents. The poor-quality tin, coupled with a lack of wine-making science at the time, resulted in unstable, over-sulphured wines, which quickly led to wine-drinkers writing off wine in cans as a bad idea.
But wine in cans has made a comeback! And now they’re supported by better technology and creative packaging ideas. This is why the Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards has opened the 2020 competition for wine in cans, allowing awarded producers a wider audience for their product.
Olivia Poonah, South African Wine and Spirit Board (WSB) spokesperson, says that the WSB board had authorised the use of aluminium cans for certified wine in 2019. “Such cans must have a maximum volume of 340ml and a shelf life of at least 12 months,” she specifies. In addition, the can must be internally coated with a bisphenol A epoxy acrylate lacquer to minimise the interactions between the packaging and the wine, although the board recommends compatibility testing of wines before producers launch their products commercially.
South Africa has seen a variety of brands of being introduced into the canned wine market.
Uncanny Wine brand owners Ruan Viljoen and Arnold Vlok launched South Africa’s first certified wine in a can in October 2019 with their vegan-friendly, no-sulphur chenin blanc and merlot. Currently they’re working towards adding a pinotage rosé, along with a de-alcoholised sauvignon blanc and pinotage later this season.
Launched in November 2019, Ben Wren’s range of four premium wines in a can (red blend, sauvignon blanc, rosé and bubbly rosé) – with a chenin blanc on the cards – is proving a top seller. From the Darling region comes Cloof Wine Estate’s colourful Rocking the Daisies range, consisting of three award-winning wines by Hennie Huskisson that were launched earlier this year.
Canned wine ranges that have also emerged this year include Spier’s 250ml canned merlot and sauvignon blanc 2020; Black Elephant Vintners’ sauvignon blanc and rosé; Perdeberg Wine’s Soft Smooth range; and Renegade Wines’ chenin blanc, mourvedre rosé and Grenache.