The world of canned alcoholic beverages is vast. Every time you step into a deli, it seems a new brand of hard seltzer has landed in the fridge and the ready-to-drink cocktails market has also exploded in the past few years. Canned wine is no different. “It seems everybody is putting wine in cans these days,” says sommelier Ian Bishop, the portfolio manager at Flavors of Italy, who laments that this uptick in quantity doesn’t translate to quality. “So why is it still difficult to find decent wine in a can?” As with many shopping challenges, knowing what brands to look for will help separate the drinkable from the disgusting. To find the best canned wines, we asked Bishop and seven more experts — including sommeliers, wine-shop owners, and other beverage connoisseurs — about the varieties they like to crack open. We broke down their 12 recommendations below into white wines, red wines, and rosé wines, leading each category with any canned wines we heard about the most.
Best canned white wines
Bishop calls Artómaña Xarmant Txakoli, which comes from the Basque region of Spain, a “refreshing, acidic white wine with a tiny bit of spritz” that’s perfect for washing down snacks at the beach, pool, or park. Pinch Chinese wine director Miguel de Leon adds that “if there was ever a wine made to be canned, it probably would have been Txakoli.” He explains that “the lightly effervescent” wine is “made with grape varieties that read a little like cider, a little like beer, and a lot like a good time,” describing it as the “Basque cousin of Vinho Verde.” Bishop puts it this way: “Think if LaCroix made a slightly flat, alcoholic version of a grapefruit, celery, pear, and apple-skin soda with a touch of seawater — in the best possible way,” he says.
Two of our experts name-checked Companion Wine Co. as a brand to look for. Chris Leon, the founder of Leon & Son Wine and Spirits, Leon Circle, and Fulton St. Fellowship, calls the company “a collective of fantastic natural producers,” and de Leon adds that its range of wines “is as wonderful as the careful winemaking behind each label.” As for a can to start with, de Leon suggests this skin-contact Pinot Gris made with Jolie-Laide (one of his “favorite California producers”) for a “great on-the-go drinking experience.”
According to de Leon, Leitz is “one of the better-known Riesling producers to make something that is just about perfect in a can.” He says this “bubbly-ish offering is ever so slightly off-dry” — or in between sweet and dry — “which makes it more approachable for picnics or other food-centric gatherings.”
This skin-fermented pét-nat from Maryland’s Old Westminster Winery comes recommended by de Leon, who says it is “so food-friendly.” But he adds it’s complex enough to enjoy on its own, telling us the wine “offers some points of seriousness as it navigates fleshy fruit with just enough skin contact to make you reach for another sip.” According to the winery, Seeds and Skins is fermented with wild yeast and canned without fining or filtering.
Best canned red wines
Bishop calls this slightly carbonic red wine “a hit in a can” for its notes of “bright, juicy cherry and brambly fruit” that he says are “the perfect accompaniment at a BBQ.” It has another fan in de Leon, who has this to say to any skeptics: “I know, I know, red wine in a can. But this wine is juicy, friendly, great in a cooler, and effortlessly crushable anywhere.” Bishop notes that it’s best served slightly chilled, with de Leon adding that “you’d be hard-pressed to find red wine that performs this well in a lot of different contexts.”
When our colleagues over at Punch reviewed more than 40 different canned wines, they sang the praises of Prisma’s Pinot Noir and gave it a spot among their top ten favorites. Describing it as “a sleeper hit of the tasting,” they say it “bursts with crunchy sour cherry fruit and juicy acidity, avoiding the common pitfalls (excess tannin, extraction, etc.) of the canned-red category.”
When it comes to canned wine, The Daxton Hotel’s director of beverage and service Liz Martinez (who curated Eater’s June wine box) says Scarpetta is a personal favorite because the cans are “slim and easy to carry, and the brand has a couple of very appealing styles,” including this “genius” canned Lambrusco that “really delivers.” Another that’s typically served chilled, she says it tastes of “nice juicy acid with tart red fruit and a punch of dark fruit,” adding that the wine has “a bit of effervescence.” As for what to drink it with, Martinez says, “Almost everything, from BBQ to pizza to hamburgers.”
Best canned rosé wines
Nomadica is a sommelier-curated canned-wine company that says it sources all of its wines from vineyards with responsible farming practices and works with winemakers who specialize in low-intervention (or natural) winemaking. But, as Lauren Friel, founder of wine bar Rebel Rebel, points out, “None of that matters if the wine is no good.” She assures that it is, telling us Nomadica’s owners “are wine lovers first” and that its “natural California wines are complex expressions of West Coast terroir.” This sparkling rosé from the brand is a favorite of James Beard Award–winning sommelier Belinda Chang, the host of Virtual Bubbly Brunch, who says she keeps cans everywhere: “In my cooler for the boat, on ice in the bathtub for my apartment parties, and also in my fridge.” The price shown is for eight cans (which equate to 2.6 bottles of wine), but you can also get packs of 12, 24, and 36. If it’s love at first sip, the brand also offers monthly and quarterly subscriptions that will bring its cans straight to your door.
According to Bishop, what makes this “delicious and fun” canned rosé unique is that the “grapes are stomped by feet and left on the skins overnight to get this beautiful coppery-ruby hue.” The wine has notes of watermelon, cherry skins, grapefruit zest, and blood orange, creating a drink that he calls “textural and crunchy with a wonderful balance of acidity.” (Bishop adds it pairs well with grilled fish.) Ivy Mix, a co-owner of restaurant Leyenda and wine-and-spirits shop Fiasco!, also recommends this rosé. She says it’s “bright, crisp, and yummy — always a treat.”
Friel loves this “fresh, snappy blend of old-vine Carignan and Zinfandel from Redwood Valley,” adding that “winemaker Faith Armstrong Foster makes some of my all-time favorite California wines and her Farmstrong can series is no exception.” She says not to let its packaging fool you, calling the rosé a “serious wine in a beach-ready format” and “the perfect pairing for late-summer sunsets.”
This rosé from Hogwash basically tastes like “strawberries and sunshine” in a can, according to Martinez. If that doesn’t sell you, she shared a bit more detail, telling us that the wine has “great acid with layers of fruit that range from citrus to red berries to even a soft peachiness that really rounds the wine out in a pleasant way.” Sparkling-wine fans should know there’s a version with bubbles that she says tastes more or less the same.
Chang says “every new flavor” of Ramona “makes my life better” and that its canned rosé is what she turns to when she wants to feel fancy without splurging on a pricier bottle. “A girl can’t drink vintage rosé Champagne from a magnum every day, so when I want to keep my rosé drinking light, airy, and bright, this sparkling rosé in a can nails it,” she says. The brand notes it has flavors of tart cherry and hibiscus flowers and that a four-pack is equivalent to more than one bottle of wine.
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