The participation of “serious” winemakers has certainly helped the product’s reputation across the U.S., but as Hemingway points out, trends usually lead to inferior products being marketed well to capitalize on the hype.
“A great package helps to sell a wine,” Hemingway said, “but it’s the wine that matters. The ‘big names’ have helped the profile of canned wine, but I like to think great wine in a can has helped, too.”
Sorting through the glut of choices can be daunting, but those “big names” do help light the way. There are now more than 70 canned wines available in Oklahoma, but the market leaders do stand out from the crowd. For sparkling wine, Essentially Geared Chenin Blanc and Methode Aluminum Pinot Noir are top of the heap. The best canned wines available now are whites, and there are several to choose from, including Dark Horse, Essentially Geared, Alloy, Tangent, Field Recordings Hans Gruner, and Lila. Una Lou rosé from Scribe is easily the best rosé available in a can, but Dark Horse and Alloy are excellent as well.
Red wine is harder to pull off in a can. The entries to the market, with a few exceptions, have not been great. The tendency to refrigerate cans out of habit certainly does not help, but some can handle a modest chill. Look for Essentially Geared and Alloy for red.
Buying canned wine in a restaurant or bar can be a little confusing. The cans are typically equal to a half bottle, so the cost will be roughly the same as two glasses of wine. This is also important information if you’re driving. The cans should come in at about $10-15 at a bar or restaurant. Good selections are available at retail locations like Spirit Shop in Norman, Broadway Wine Merchants and Freeman’s in Oklahoma City, and Edmond Wine Shop.