You’ll find cans of wine in the beer aisle, just in time for tailgating.
WHEN I WAS going to college in the mid-1980s in Bellingham, I couldn’t afford to drink anything but Rainier beer. This was before the craft-beer movement.
I remember preferring beer out of a bottle or keg. I thought it tasted worse from a can.
I didn’t drink wine back then (my favorite winemakers were Bartles & Jaymes).
Three to try
You’ll find House Wine in a can at retailers across the state, available in chardonnay; rosé; red blend; and, coming soon, sparkling rosé. House Wine in a can retails for $5.49 each. All wines are nonvintage. No metallic aftertaste was detected.
Original Red Blend: This cab-leading blend is a robust red with flavors of black currant, ripe plum, blackberry and a hint of black licorice.
House Wine chardonnay: Refreshing white wine with notes of butter, fresh pineapple and a bite of Golden Delicious apple.
House Wine rosé: With a base of riesling, this off-dry pink is refreshingly bright when chilled, with notes of fresh strawberries, Rainier cherries and a hint of cranberry juice.
So when I heard an Oregon winery was putting pinot noir in a can, I’ll admit to wrinkling my nose.
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Now tin is a thing, and each of the Pacific Northwest states has at least one winery putting wine in a can.
In Oregon, Union Wine Co. is canning pinot noir, pinot gris, rosé and sparkling wine. In Idaho, Strange Folk from Split Rail Winery in Boise is canning a red and a white. In Washington, Seattle-based Precept has two brands of wine in a can: West Side Wines (California wines for Whole Foods), and a line under the familiar House Wine label that has been blowing up in popularity since being introduced in May.
Precept CEO Andrew Browne is excited about the possibility of wine in a can, with ideas coming daily as more orders arrive.
It turns out many grocery stores carrying his canned wines are stocking them in the beer aisle. This delights Browne, who hadn’t considered being able to invade beer’s space.
He anticipates House Wine in a can will be big with tailgaters at football games. This is where beer usually rules, primarily because it’s more difficult to deal with transporting and opening a bottle of wine in a stadium parking lot. But with the House Wine cans, it’s simple enough to toss chardonnay and rosé into a cooler. Each can is the equivalent of a half-bottle — roughly two healthy pours — with no corkscrew needed and no worries about glass breaking, and they’re even easier to recycle.
Exploring and embracing new ideas comes naturally to Browne, but he wasn’t sure what to expect with cans of wine. The flood of sales has him in awe, as wine lovers join in his vision of enjoying the adult beverage while at deck parties, boating, beach bonfires and camping.