Wine not crack a tinnie?

Bella Fyffe and Kevin Munro are self-described "canned wine enthusiasts".
Bella Fyffe and Kevin Munro are self-described "canned wine enthusiasts". Photo: Joe Armao

 

Kevin Munro first bought canned wine ahead of a camping trip to Wilsons Promontory, a national park on Victoria's south coast that forbids glass.

"I'd seen it on shelves but never really had a good reason to give it a crack," says the 33-year-old, who works in finance.

Fourth Wave Elephant chardonnay can.
Fourth Wave Elephant chardonnay can. Photo: Supplied

He says initially the "value proposition" wasn't there.

"I'm not a wine snob so I can grab a bottle for $15 and I'd see a four-pack for $20 plus, so it was a convenience purchase for me."

Slim cans with creative branding are cropping up on shelves around the country.

Fourth Wave Elephant pinot noir can.
Fourth Wave Elephant pinot noir can. Photo: Supplied

Wine Australia estimates the total market share to be 0.2 per cent of the $5.9 billion domestic wine trade.

BWS wine category manager Nitin Arora says canned wine is one of their fastest-growing categories in Australia.

"Our customers tell us canned wine is perfect for barbecues, picnics and outdoor events because the products are lighter to carry."

Advertisement

Yarra Valley winery Innocent Bystander launched a canned moscato in 2013 but director Mat Janes had to pull it from the market after a year because of low demand.

"It didn't get the traction that we were hoping for."

Riot Wine Co. Riot Rouge 2018.
Riot Wine Co. Riot Rouge 2018. Photo: Supplied

Janes says there is no difference in quality between the wine he bottles and cans. He puts the failed launch to a "traditionalist backlash" in a perception debate he says mirrors the screw cap scenario of the nineties.

Six years on, the market has caught up with the concept – its second attempt at canned moscato was well received.

"I think this summer has been the first summer of wine in a can in Australia."

Riot Wine Co. Riot Rosé 2017.
Riot Wine Co. Riot Rosé 2017. Photo: Supplied

Wine distributor Nicholas Crampton says canned wine has become popular with younger consumers, who are "less biased about format".

Consumers are drinking canned wine through a straw, straight from the can or "decanted" into a glass.

However it's drunk, the drawcard is convenience. Whether you're maximising space in the Esky, wanting to drink smaller portions, or desiring a vino on-the-go, canned wine is fast becoming a popular alternative to the glass or bag option.

Innocent Bystander Moscato NV.
Innocent Bystander Moscato NV. Photo: Supplied

Wineries around the country are cashing in on the trend, from Jacobs Creek's canned moscato launched last year to the Hunter Valley's Joiy now offering a 250mL canned prosecco.

But Crampton says innovation in the industry has been stifled by a patent on the technology that produces the cans. According to Crampton, Vinsafe, the company that owns the patent, "likes big numbers" and requests a minimum 80,000-can order.

"As it [demand for canned wine] gets bigger, the pressure on the dam wall is building," says Crampton. "Others can come to an agreement to do smaller production."

Until then, finance worker Munro will continue to enjoy the available options of wine in a can.

"My girlfriend's mother was horrified to learn we were drinking wine from a can but other than that, I've got no complaints."

Five canned wines to try

Good Food wine writer Ralph Kyte-Powell suggests popping the tops of the following drops to see what canned wine is all about.

Elephant in the Room Pinot Noir 2017 $5-$6 250ml

Good quality, easy-drinking pinot with soft plummy fruit at its heart. It's succulent and sustained in flavour with balanced, fine tannins (13.5 per cent alcohol).

Riot Wine Co. Riot Rosé 2017 $6-$7 250ml

A grenache-sangiovese blend, pale and blushing with aromas of redcurrant and savoury herbs. Lightish and quenching (12.5 per cent alcohol).

Elephant in the Room Chardonnay 2017 $5-$6 250ml

Limestone Coast chardonnay with plenty of old-fashioned flavour and juicy drinkability, allied to some complexity 13 per cent alcohol.

Riot Wine Co. Riot Rouge 2018 $6-$7 250ml

Grenache from McLaren Vale with aromas of plum, fruitcake and licorice. It's simple, soft and mellow (14 per cent alcohol).

Innocent Bystander Moscato NV $6-$7 250ml

This pinkish, lightly fizzy, low alcohol drop is like a glass of sweet, crushed grapes, fruity, fresh and mouth-watering (5.5 per cent alcohol).