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Is it time to cut back on bottled wine?

Is it time to cut back on bottled wine?

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Of late, it’s wine or bubbly in a can, that is having its moment.

Of late, it’s wine or bubbly in a can, that is having its moment.

Is it time to cut back on bottled wine?
Wine in a box. Wine in anything other than a bottle. Screw cap bottle. Wine stopped with anything besides a cork. These all used to be swear words heard from vineyard to sommelier or dinner party to host. Or at least they were a no-no if you wanted to associate your drinking choices with anything premium. That is, until a short while ago.

Now, as sustainability starts to trump extravagance, this “new” packaging makes more sense in terms of convenience, freshness, health, and a better green rating.

Of late, it’s wine or bubbly in a can, that is having its moment. In less than a decade, sales of canned wine have jumped from $2 million in 2012 to $183.6 million in 2020.

Lieb Cellars of Long Island launched their wine in a can with a new label, Bridge Lane.  They offer a variety of canned wines from sustainably farmed, estate-grown and locally grown grapes from the North Fork of Long Island. “We live near the beach, and a bunch of us have or know people who have boats…it’s awesome to be able to throw our cans in a cooler and not have to worry about glass bottles or cups.”

One other USA company had already hopped on the trend in 2018 though. Beach Juice is a New York based, canned wine producer. Introduced in 2018 with their original rose and bubble-free rose, Beach Juice was inspired by sun, sand, and surf. It is the best rose of the summer with notes of strawberries, cranberries, and watermelon.

Recently, Lila Wines released their new Bubbly Rose inspired by Italy. Lila has a variety of canned wines including their signature French Rose, Pinot Grigio, and Sparkling. Other brands who have done the same are Cupcake Vineyards, Underwood Rose, Porch Pounder, and Sunny Side. They have become experts in repacking wines with similar selections of the world’s most popular grapes.

But why now? Marketed to Millennials (aka Generation Green) or younger, more brands realize that they need to make changes to become more eco-friendly and appealing to certain age groups. Fortune shared that the category had already “grown 67% in the past year, clocking in at $75 million in sales, according to Nielsen data in May 2019”.

So, what are these tins made of, and what does it take to get the wine into them and then into our hands? And are they good for us and the planet?

Is tin greener than glass?

According to Marian Leitner, the founder of Archer Roose, “A single-serve can eliminate the bottle left unfinished at the end of the night. All of our cans are made from recycled aluminum, a material that can be recycled and reused indefinitely. Our cans are back on shelves within 60 days of being recycled.”

Conditions are that they have to hold less than 11.5oz., ensure a shelf life of at least 12 months and be internally coated with a Bisphenol-A Epoxy-Acrylate lacquer. BPA is said to be safe in low quantities used in food products but some research on its increased exposure sees a link to high blood pressure and a negative impact on brain health. None of this research has shown any direct cause and effect though, says the United States’ Food and Drug Administration.

Lightweight and lighter than glass, aluminum cans need less energy to transport, are more compact and unbreakable, plus require less time to chill their contents. You also won’t need a corkscrew to open, glasses to drink out of, or paper for labelling. So much more suitable for festivals, concerts, picnics, and other outdoor events and in-flight dining too – this all makes for a smaller carbon footprint compared to glass bottles.

National Geographic reports that, “Glass and metals, including aluminum, can effectively be recycled indefinitely, without a loss of quality. In fact, aluminum cans have consistently shown the highest value among recycled commodities and remain in high demand.”

But what about taste?

If glass wasn’t breakable, it would be the safest in terms of health. So says The Washington Post. “Because glass is made of natural materials, there is no danger of inorganic chemicals leaking into liquids when it’s heated or cooled. It also doesn’t hold flavor – some people complain that water in plastic or metal bottles tastes like chemicals or tin.”

Yet, Huffington Post conducted a blind test with a panel of 25 tasters on canned vs bottled beer in 2012 to test the theory that you can taste the difference between drinks that have been bottled or canned. The tasters preferred the canned drink for three out of four brands they tried and only just over half of them could even identify which beers had come in a can.

But then there’s the question of storing a can when it’s been opened. When a can is closed, it is air- and light-tight so its contents stay fresh for longer than in other containers.

Some important quantities to note here quickly: one glass of wine is about 6oz., roughly 2.5 units of alcohol. Spier makes it very clear on its packaging that there are two glasses in each of its 8.4oz. cans, while others market themselves as single serve with the same volume. So what happens if you only want one glass? Wine goes off in the fridge because of oxidization and acetic acid bacteria that “consumes the alcohol in wine, leaving behind a bitter vinegar-like taste and smell.” While keeping it in cooler temperatures slows down both processes, it will still eventually spoil.

A lot of us may have stoppers for wine, re-use the cork they were bottled with or have used the teaspoon trick to keep bubbles going for longer in our sparkling wines or MCCs but how do we seal an open can?

While we wait for more innovation in this space and answer the call for more responsible drinking, even wine snobs should find something to be excited about in this growing trend.

Wine in a box. Wine in anything other than a bottle. Screw cap bottle. Wine stopped with anything besides a cork. These all used to be swear words heard from vineyard to sommelier or dinner party to host. Or at least they were a no-no if you wanted to associate your drinking choices with anything premium. That is, until a short while ago.

Now, as sustainability starts to trump extravagance, this “new” packaging makes more sense in terms of convenience, freshness, health, and a better green rating.

Of late, it’s wine or bubbly in a can, that is having its moment. In less than a decade, sales of canned wine have jumped from $2 million in 2012 to $183.6 million in 2020.

Lieb Cellars of Long Island launched their wine in a can with a new label, Bridge Lane.  They offer a variety of canned wines from sustainably farmed, estate-grown and locally grown grapes from the North Fork of Long Island. “We live near the beach, and a bunch of us have or know people who have boats…it’s awesome to be able to throw our cans in a cooler and not have to worry about glass bottles or cups.”

One other USA company had already hopped on the trend in 2018 though. Beach Juice is a New York based, canned wine producer. Introduced in 2018 with their original rose and bubble-free rose, Beach Juice was inspired by sun, sand, and surf. It is the best rose of the summer with notes of strawberries, cranberries, and watermelon.

Recently, Lila Wines released their new Bubbly Rose inspired by Italy. Lila has a variety of canned wines including their signature French Rose, Pinot Grigio, and Sparkling. Other brands who have done the same are Cupcake Vineyards, Underwood Rose, Porch Pounder, and Sunny Side. They have become experts in repacking wines with similar selections of the world’s most popular grapes.

But why now? Marketed to Millennials (aka Generation Green) or younger, more brands realize that they need to make changes to become more eco-friendly and appealing to certain age groups. Fortune shared that the category had already “grown 67% in the past year, clocking in at $75 million in sales, according to Nielsen data in May 2019”.

So, what are these tins made of, and what does it take to get the wine into them and then into our hands? And are they good for us and the planet?

Is tin greener than glass?

According to Marian Leitner, the founder of Archer Roose, “A single-serve can eliminate the bottle left unfinished at the end of the night. All of our cans are made from recycled aluminum, a material that can be recycled and reused indefinitely. Our cans are back on shelves within 60 days of being recycled.”

Conditions are that they have to hold less than 11.5oz., ensure a shelf life of at least 12 months and be internally coated with a Bisphenol-A Epoxy-Acrylate lacquer. BPA is said to be safe in low quantities used in food products but some research on its increased exposure sees a link to high blood pressure and a negative impact on brain health. None of this research has shown any direct cause and effect though, says the United States’ Food and Drug Administration.

Lightweight and lighter than glass, aluminum cans need less energy to transport, are more compact and unbreakable, plus require less time to chill their contents. You also won’t need a corkscrew to open, glasses to drink out of, or paper for labelling. So much more suitable for festivals, concerts, picnics, and other outdoor events and in-flight dining too – this all makes for a smaller carbon footprint compared to glass bottles.

National Geographic reports that, “Glass and metals, including aluminum, can effectively be recycled indefinitely, without a loss of quality. In fact, aluminum cans have consistently shown the highest value among recycled commodities and remain in high demand.”

But what about taste?

If glass wasn’t breakable, it would be the safest in terms of health. So says The Washington Post. “Because glass is made of natural materials, there is no danger of inorganic chemicals leaking into liquids when it’s heated or cooled. It also doesn’t hold flavor – some people complain that water in plastic or metal bottles tastes like chemicals or tin.”

Yet, Huffington Post conducted a blind test with a panel of 25 tasters on canned vs bottled beer in 2012 to test the theory that you can taste the difference between drinks that have been bottled or canned. The tasters preferred the canned drink for three out of four brands they tried and only just over half of them could even identify which beers had come in a can.

But then there’s the question of storing a can when it’s been opened. When a can is closed, it is air- and light-tight so its contents stay fresh for longer than in other containers.

Some important quantities to note here quickly: one glass of wine is about 6oz., roughly 2.5 units of alcohol. Spier makes it very clear on its packaging that there are two glasses in each of its 8.4oz. cans, while others market themselves as single serve with the same volume. So what happens if you only want one glass? Wine goes off in the fridge because of oxidization and acetic acid bacteria that “consumes the alcohol in wine, leaving behind a bitter vinegar-like taste and smell.” While keeping it in cooler temperatures slows down both processes, it will still eventually spoil.

A lot of us may have stoppers for wine, re-use the cork they were bottled with or have used the teaspoon trick to keep bubbles going for longer in our sparkling wines or MCCs but how do we seal an open can?

While we wait for more innovation in this space and answer the call for more responsible drinking, even wine snobs should find something to be excited about in this growing trend.

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