Canned Wine: A Sustainable Choice - So Why Aren't We Drinking More of It?

Wine quality has long been correlated with the weight of its glass bottle. That's bad for wine and bad for the world, and even though trends are changing, we need to do better.

6/7/20232 min read

Once frowned upon as the abode of low-quality plonk, canned wine is slowly shaking off its less-than-stellar reputation. The new generation of wine lovers is steering the narrative towards canned wines being an exciting, viable, and more sustainable alternative to traditional wine packaging. This shift is propelled not only by the eco-conscious ethos of millennials and Gen Z but also by undeniable scientific and logistical arguments.

Firstly, we need to debunk the myths associated with canned wine. Many believe canned wine equates to cheap, poor quality wine, a belief rooted more in wine snobbery than reality. Modern canning processes ensure that the wine doesn't interact with the aluminum, preserving the wine's integrity and taste. The traditional cork and bottle format isn't necessarily a hallmark of quality; numerous high-quality wines today use screw caps and alternative packaging.

From a sustainability perspective, cans score major points. Aluminum cans are lighter and more compact than glass bottles, which translates to lower carbon emissions during transportation. According to The Aluminum Association, aluminum is also the most recycled material in the world, with 75% of all aluminum ever produced still in use today. When compared to glass, which is often heavier and less frequently recycled, the climate-friendly choice is clear.

When compared to glass, which is often heavier and less frequently recycled, the climate-friendly choice is clear.

The compact size and durability of cans also make wine more accessible and versatile. You can easily take canned wine to places where glass is not permitted or is impractical: beaches, hiking trails, concerts, and picnics. It also opens doors for consumers who wish to enjoy wine without committing to a full bottle, thus reducing waste and promoting moderate drinking.

The wine industry has been grappling with the impacts of climate change, pushing winemakers to adapt and innovate. Herein lies an opportunity for low-alcohol wines, which are perfectly suited for the canned format. Lower alcohol content translates to lower volumes of fermented liquid, which subsequently means fewer resources utilized in the winemaking process—less water, less energy, and fewer grapes. This, in conjunction with the carbon reduction benefits of canning, creates a powerful argument for canned wines in the context of climate change.

Moreover, with advancements in technology, wine producers are better equipped to tailor their winemaking processes for the canned format. The delicate balance of tannins, acidity, and fruit-forward flavors can be maintained, thus ensuring that canned wine drinkers do not have to compromise on taste and quality.

Wine, at its core, is about enjoyment, connection, and the celebration of life's simple pleasures. By making wine more sustainable and accessible, canned wine embodies this spirit. It breaks down barriers, making wine more inclusive and adaptable to our evolving lifestyles. As we stride into the future, canned wine stands poised to not just be a trend or a novelty, but a serious contender in the world of wine. It's high time we cracked open our perceptions and embraced the possibilities that canned wine presents.

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(Editor's note: I do not accept affiliate ad payments, and any recommendation on softwine is genuine)