A canned wine brand brings the work of small producers to light.
What is It?
Wine in a bottle is so 2019. (And can we agree to forget 2020?) Emerging as a more sustainable option on the ever-expanding wine scene, canned wine brands benefit from the lightweight material they are packaged in–aluminum–and a pull tab instead of a cork (a natural material which has its own sustainability story). Maker, based in Marin County, Calif., works with independent, small batch wine producers and delivers them to your door. Unlike big wine labels, which put their schlock into cans, Maker is providing premium wines and a market-ready platform for small wine producers.
How does it Taste?
Each wine is made by a different winemaker so a blanket description is a non sequitur for this canned wine brand. Sampling each wine for its own merits is a better strategy.
I went first for the Sparking Rosé from Bodkin Wines. With grapes sourced from California’s North Coast, the wine exhibits a deep pink color and expressed an exhilarating acidity with citrus flavors on the finish (grapefruit?).
Viognier (from “Anna and Gary”) is what I want wine in a can to be–lush on the palate, elegant, even when drunk straight from the can, and softly aromatic–a perfect wine for an afternoon on the beach. I savored its freshness a bit more when it was chilled, not room temperature.
Lulu Handley’s Pinot Noir spoke of the Anderson Valley soils that give the region its noted terroir. Lean on the palate with a bright acidity, the wine finishes juicy with flavors of red berries.
I was most excited to try the Chenin Blanc. Somewhat difficult to find in the US (look for it at a favorite wine merchant, not at a grocery store), chenin is not widely grown in the US (only about 6,000 acres are grown in California, versus 100,000 acres for Chardonnay). Sourced from the hills south of Sacramento and made by Colleen Sullivan, this chenin is a lovely example of the grape made famous in the Loire–softer (or tempered) acids are nicely balanced with freshness for a rounded mouthfeel that works solo or with whatever you decide to eat alongside. It is one of my favorite varietals and at this price point, a downright steal.
Impress with Package Design
Like bottled wines, canned wine brands can benefit from packaging and Maker’s, designed by Olivia Herrick, are as fun and refreshing as the wines. Each can displays the winemaker’s signature and winery etched on the front and depicts the unique character of what’s inside. My favorite is the Cabernet Sauvignon. Made by Alice Warnecke Sutro who also works as a sketch artist, the design weaves a multi-colored zig-zag thread across the label, leading to an artist’s hand. It captures the idea of winemaking as a journey, one crafted by Nature’s whims and shaped by human hands. The visuals perfectly match what the artist crafted. Well done, Maker!
*I received a free sample of this product.