Should You Skip Canned Wine and Just Buy the Bottle?

Canned wine is the latest wine trend to make the rounds, but is it all it's cracked up to be? A sommelier explains when to sip and when to skip.

Whether you’re a wine drinker or not, you’ve undoubtedly seen the brightly colored cans of wine lining your local supermarket shelves. These ultraportable cans are enjoying their moment as the wine trend du jour, but is this popular new packaging the way forward in the wine world? Pour yourself a glass of vino and let’s find out!

The Pros of Canned Wine

Canned wine is great if you’re planning to bring a little booze on a picnic, poolside party, or to the beach. For white wine drinkers, the humble can chills much faster than the traditional glass bottle, which is a definite plus. They’re unpretentious, and with more producers jumping on the trend, the quality is improving every year. You’ll find some amazingly delicious canned wines out there. Canned wine tends to be inexpensive, and if you’re trying to do your bit to reduce your carbon footprint, a can does offer some recycling benefits over a glass bottle.

OK, So How About the Cons?

As Jason Centanni, the head winemaker at Llano Estacado Winery in Lubbock, Texas, says, “The packaging just doesn’t suit the product.” He’s right—when it comes to aging wine, a can won’t cut it. The nature of the can doesn’t allow for any long-term aging. Overall, canned wine has a short shelf life averaging about 18 months. If you like buying wine to stash away for a later date, you’ll want to give this trend a pass. While the majority of canned wines are kind to your wallet, you can find great deals on bottled wine as well (check out these great white wines for under $20!). For all of you champagne connoisseurs out there, sparkling wine out of a can will never be the same quality as your favorite bottle of bubbly. (More about champagne here.)

So should you pick up a few cans of vino on your next shopping trip? If you’re looking for something simple and portable to drink soon, there’s nothing wrong with buying a can of wine. But if you want to keep your wine for long periods of time or prefer savoring the complexity which unfolds in the glass, stick to the old-school wine bottle.

Next up—we named the best boxed red wine.

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Camille Berry
Part of the third generation in a family of restaurateurs, Camille was born with a passion for cooking and food. She embarked on a career in hospitality where she excelled as a sommelier and wine director. This hospitality experience has given her a wealth of first-hand knowledge about how to pair all manner of drinks with food—plus some serious kitchen skills. These days, she's hung up her wine key in favor of a pen and covers all aspects of food and drink.