I know. Drinking in the time of Corona means we get to make exceptions. I’ve seen all the memes. The ones that say “Alcohol: the glue holding this crap show together” and “During quarantine, airport rules apply” and “COVID! Putting the FUN back in FUNctional alcoholic.”
Whining won’t help. Wine’ing does.
For the casual drinkers, COVID-19 means we’ve redefined the term “alcoholic.” Day drinking while working at home? Sure thing. The world is messed up, you deserve it. I am fully onboard with doing what you need to do to make it through these crazy times. I certainly won’t judge. And I’ll likely toast you with my own glass, 10 am be damned.
But here was my problem. It wasn’t just one glass. I’d open a bottle of wine in the late afternoon. Have a glass while cooking. Have another with dinner. Have another while doing freelance writing or watching tv after dinner. And then, because in the time of quarantine, every single person in my family uses every single cup we own over the course of the day, by the time night rolls around, all our glasses are in the dishwasher and I have a choice of swigging directly from the bottle or drinking wine out of a soup bowl. Either way, it doesn’t take long before the remainder of the bottle is gone. At some point I looked it up. A typical bottle is SIX glasses of wine. Gulp. Literally and figuratively.
All In Moderation… Who Does That?
Here’s the thing: My kryptonite is not being able to NOT finish whatever I’m eating or drinking. It’s basically mindless consumption but I’m compelled to keep eating until whatever I’m eating is gone. Blame on it being a child of the “There are starving children in Africa” generation. Do NOT leave me alone with an entire canister of Pringles. A box of cereal. A bag of candy. I will finish it all without a second thought. I am incapable of stopping myself after just a few, a handful, a regular-sized serving. I cannot self-regulate.
One! Singular Sensation!
Because of that, I’m obsessed with single-serving foods. I know it’s a rip-off but I’m totally willing to pay extra for pre-measured, pre-packaged, individual serving sized foods. Little packages of M&Ms. Packs with only 3 cookies. Individual containers of veggie dip, guacamole, peanut butter, or salsa. God bless the person at Kellogg who invented single-serving Pringles. I can manage this.
So, that was the basis for what got me into trying canned wine.
It’s an emerging market. Just think about it. Coming in from a long hot day and popping open a cold can of Pinot. If that’s not classy, I don’t know what—wait. That’s totally not classy. Wine in a can is essentially the polar opposite of classy. But you know what? That’s okay.
I’m not a wine snob. I drink wine because I like to unwind, take the edge off, have a little liquid lubrication in this land of lunatics. But even in the world of a sliding-scale definition of alcoholic, I have to say, six glasses a night might be suggestive of a bigger problem. So, the idea of wine in single servings, despite the packaging, was intriguing.
Disclaimer: Before you read my review of canned wine, you should know, I’m not a connoisseur. I ain’t fancy. I don’t sniff, swirl, or spit. At least I don’t do those things with wine. My typical wine bottle purchase averages at $15. My cheese of choice to pair with wine is Mini Babybels. I also don’t drink reds. I’m partial to Sauvignon Blancs and Pinot Grigios. So, if you’re a red wine person and upon reading this article you try canned red wine, and it tastes like liquid farts, my apologies. I didn’t know.
And the Vino Verdict is in…
Having said that, my general review of canned wine is… dah dah dahhhhhhhh..They’re not bad. They’re decent. They pass muster. I’m not going to shout their praises from the hills but for my own selfish purposes of helping me to self-regulate how much I drink; they get the job done.
Anyone who drinks soda can tell you when you drink a canned soda versus a fountain soda, even the most unrefined palate knows there are subtle differences in the taste. It’s the same with canned wine. No matter what you’re drinking, you’re going to get a bit of a metallic taste, there are preservatives that probably don’t exist in the bottles, and I have to admit, I’m a little alarmed that when I crack a can of wine open, it makes the same hiss-pop sounds that a soda does … are these carbonated?
But coming from someone who doesn’t drink expensive wines, I can tell you all the brands who put out what I like to call “affordable wine” (what the rest of the world calls “cheap wine”) are the same ones who are putting out cans. But even within that small group, there are differences. Here’s my quick and dirty rundown (because quick and dirty is what canned wine deserves):
Single Serving Cans
“Dark Horse,” “Crafters Union,” “Ava Grace,” and “14 hands” are all pretty decent. None of them will change your world of wine, but for wine in a can, they’ll get the job done.
“Cupcake” and “Barefoot.” If you know these brands from their bottles, you’ll know what the can versions tastes like—just add tin flavor. A can is finnnneee. The bottle versions—if you drink more than a few glasses—will definitely give you a headache. Stick with the single serving can.
With the brand “House,” you get what you expect. Truth in advertising. I’ve never seen this brand in a bottle, but the canned wine is bland and generic.
A few of the more bougie brands offer an “elegant” slender, two-pack set of cans. “Coppla,” “Prophecy,” and “Kim Crawford” are the ones I’ve tried. When you buy these brands in bottles, they are slightly more expensive than my average bottle of wines. When you buy these brands in slender two-packs, they are a lot more expensive than the singles. However, it’s worth it – even though the cans are slender, the twin pack gives you a bit more than the single servings, and the quality is much closer to what you get in the bottles.
Still feel a little trashy for drinking wine from a can? Just remember this little diddy:
No need to be a total assy.
Or get unreasonably sassy.
Canned wine can still be classy.
Just pour it into a fancy glassy.
Because I’m a totally responsible adult postscript:
This article was posted with the intent of making readers smile, but I really don’t take alcoholism lightly. If you find yourself drinking a single can, then also drinking many other single cans, on a nightly basis—pandemic or not—please consider seeking some help.
A full-time copywriter, Lilly Winters lives outside Washington, D.C. in a house full of animals—which include her husband and teenager. Under a different name, she’s written a book of short stories, a Young Adult novel, and was most recently published in Gravity Dancers. Lilly Winters isn’t posting her real picture because it’s possible she is currently wanted by the Mexican drug cartel. It’s also possible she watches too much Ozark.