We are entering the golden age of canned wine.
Until recently, canned wine had a reputation for being too sweet and viscous a juice – a category mentally maligned by canned wine.
But a wave of new players in the canned wine world has opened up the category, with innovative (and delicious) new options. There are some great New Oregon riffs (thanks, Underwood), single serve spritzers made by a sommelier (re: Ramona), and Vinny, a brand that boxes the finest bubbles in New York State. Babe Wine produces fresh and gourmet rosés for the Instagram set while Without wine is canned wine from the vintage.
One of the most notable marks of the New Guard is Nomadica. Founded by a former Snapchat bigwig and renowned sommelier, the way the brand operates is to create a rainbow of sustainably made canned wines that support the California wine community.
You could say the brand ticks a lot of the boxes for the millennial drinker: she’s a woman and LGBTQ + led. The wines are low intervention, vegan and produced from grapes grown sustainably on small farms on the west coast. The cans are recyclable and the wines have no residual sugar. The labels are designed in collaboration with a rotating set of visual artists.
But the wine is just great. Not “ good for a canned wine ”, but really tasty: the duo produces brilliant and effervescent bubbles, dry rosés and reds with high acidity and low tannin that offer none of the acidity of most canned reds.
Brands like Nomadica, Underwood, Sans and Vinny are marking a big moment for the canned wine category.
Since 2012, sales of canned wines have jumped by $ 2 million to $ 183.6 million in the 52 week period ending July 11, 2020. Nielsen noted that canned wine sales increased 79.2% from 2019, while wine sales only increased 1.4% during the same period. The category should be worth $ 155.1 billion by 2027, with a CAGR of 10.4% over that period.
The draw for the canned category is obvious. Similar to the adjacent success of Hard Seltzer, single-serve wine offers convenience and portion control – with an average serving size of 250ml, canned wines offer single-serve alternatives to 750ml wine bottles.
Major players in the wine industry have started iterations – E. & J. Gallo has the Barefoot spritzer, Constellation Brands
The idea for Nomadica started when Emma Toshack started pouring beautiful bottles of wine into empty sparkling water cans to get around her building’s alcohol-free rules – she just wanted a glass of wine while she was lying down by the swimming pool.
His MacGyver canned wine was convenient and delicious. So why didn’t something like this exist?
When Toshack approached co-founder Kristin Olszewski with the idea, “I admit that as a gourmet sommelier I was incredibly resilient at first. I had never had the experience I am looking for in canned wine. So Emma canned a small amount of Josh Klapper’s Pinot Noir and brought it back to me to taste. I admittedly let it sit in my closet for about a month, but one night when I didn’t feel like opening a whole bottle, I tried it.
“A light bulb went off and that’s where Nomadica was really born; we then started our journey to create top quality canned wine.
Toshack was previously head of the growth program at Snapchat, while Olszewski cut her teeth as a sommelier at Saison, Husk and Osteria Mozza. She is currently the Wine Director for Gigi’s in Hollywood.
Olszewski is now the brand’s director of wines, sourcing from his favorite winemakers around the state rather than cultivating the grapes themselves. “I like to compare ourselves to merchants (winegrowers who buy grapes from other farmers), only, instead of buying grapes, we buy already finished wine.” This helps reduce overhead costs – no need to manage a vineyard – while supporting local producers.
She focuses her selections on blends that appeal to the crowd and appeal to a wide range of drinkers. “After working in the restaurant business for years, I have a theory that there are certain flavor profiles that everyone enjoys. Whether you are a sommelier or an occasional wine drinker, we source in that vein: brilliant wines with fresh fruit. Wines that sing in the can, ”says Olszewski.
Currently, Nomadica offers a red blend of Sangiovese, Grenache and Zinfandel; Rosé made from Pinot Noir, Syrah, Cinsault and Grenache; and a sparkling pinot noir rosé. There is also a sparkling white with a base of Malvasia and Chardonnay, plus a fully organic limited edition Chardonnay.
Canning wine while maintaining the quality is no small task. Aluminum is volatile and poorly canned, the alloy can easily give a metallic taste to the liquid. Some winemakers are now adding a protective liner, while others are testing wines that will retain their flavor throughout the canning process. Olszewski opts for grape varieties with low acidity and low sulfur content.
The duo also source thoughtfully, keeping wines from small local producers. “Great wine is produced in the vineyard, not in the cellar,” says Olszewski. “Our first priority is to work with people who have responsible farming methods and who do not use pesticides. Winemakers are first and foremost farmers and stewards of the land – we consider ourselves lucky to be able to support such amazing humans.
With this in mind, Nomadica recently released a limited edition version of certified organic Chardonnay, with the intention of shifting the entire range to fully organic processes. “We are delighted to bring more wines of this kind into our collection,” says Olszewski.
Environmental ethics extend beyond juice. “The cans themselves are so much more durable than glass. They use much less energy to recycle and because the cans are so much lighter they reduce transportation emissions by up to 80%. “
Customers have been incredibly receptive to this approach. “Our customers are wine drinkers; they are used to drinking high-end wine, they have developed palates and they choose us regularly. We have a huge percentage of repeat buyers – I don’t think there is a bigger compliment than that. We all know canned wine is great for hikes, the beach, the pool, etc., but our consumers also choose us for their nights at home when they don’t want to open a whole bottle, or when they do. want multiple varietals throughout the evening. . “
Much like hard seltzer, the convenience of canned wine attracts the masses. And thanks to a wide range of wines and producers like Nomadica, canned wine exceeds fashion status.