Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Wine in a Can?
First it was wine in a box, then came the screwcap, synthetic corks and Tetrapaks -- now the newest fad in wine is the aluminium can. Wine's packaging facelift is either an attempt to boost sales, a way to be kinder to the earth or a solution to making wine more democratic and portable. I'm not sure if this is a good environmental step or just a marketing fad, but I guess only time will tell. I've been aware of the wine industry's newest venture into aluminum cans for a while, and I finally spied some cans of wine in my local LCBO, so I had to see for myself. Would this wine actually taste good? Why is it in a can in the first place? Wouldn't the can impart a tinny quality to the wine? Am I supposed to drink it from the can or pour it into a glass? So many questions...
Apparently wine in a can was first created for airline meals, but some would argue that cans of wine are also picnic and camping-friendly and they also maintain cool temperatures longer than a glass bottle. This wine happens to be Billy Rock Station's Shiraz. The back of the can reads: "Billy says...you will love the feel and smooth taste of this wine, with its lovely, deep rich red colour, it oozes opulence and style". Can we say marketing bull***t? I sipped the wine from the can and also from a glass, and I cannot remember when I have disliked a wine more! Plus, the description doesn't really tell me much, other than the fact that I'm about to drink a high-alcohol, overly fruity new world wine. All I could smell was the can, and a strong aroma of syrupy fruit; it was like smelling an overly intense boysenberry jam. On the palate I got a sweet, somewhat tinny flavour. This wine was quite "flabby" as has been said by many more educated wine critics than myself.
The one thing I do like about wine in a can is its environmental impact. It's lighter to transport so its carbon footprint is smaller, and it's easy to recycle. However, single serving cans could be more wasteful than one bottle for every five glasses. Wine in a can does make it more accessible in a way, but part of what I love about wine is the romance involved in uncorking a bottle. You just don't get the same feeling from flipping the tab on a can. So if wine in bottles is snobby, then so be it. I'm a snob. Perhaps the white wines are better and more can-friendly? If I dare to try, I guess I'll find out, but I don't see myself purchasing wine in a can again anytime soon.
So cheers, everyone. Raise your glass, can or bottle to advancements in the wine industry -- good or bad, they get us talking more about wine, and in the words of Martha Stewart, that's "a good thing".