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Wine in a Can? Why It’s Better to Stick With Glass Bottles for Italian Wine

We love the continuing growth of the Italian wine industry. In fact, you could argue that the industry is in the strongest position that it’s been in for years. The millennial generation seems more likely to adopt wine as one of its drinks of choice, at least when compared to the generations that came before them.

Moreover, the industry has expanded into several new territories over the course of the last decade or so. China and India have emerged as strong markets with enormous potential for growth. Even territories such as Russia, which has traditionally not been much of a wine-loving nation, have experienced growth in recent years.

But increasing popularity does come at a cost. As any item becomes more popular, it’s likely that a bunch of manufacturers will produce budget products that are intended to appeal to those who might otherwise not consider the product. Yet others may lean heavily towards creating novelty items.

That appears to have happened with the wine industry, at least when it comes to packaging. We’ve spoken before about boxed wine and why it’s best to go with the bottle over the box.

But wine in a can?

That’s an even stranger one. We’re going to look at why canned wine isn’t exactly the best choice and reinforce the reasons behind why wine in a glass bottle is always the best way to go.

The Problems With Canned Wine

On the surface of it, canned wine doesn’t present that much of a problem. It’s clearly a novelty idea that’s intended to attract a few punters who might have a bit of fun with drinking wine out of a can before they revert to buying wine in more traditional – and better –containers.

The main issue comes with quality. Italian wine producers work tirelessly to create wines that taste amazing and represent their terroir as accurately as possible. Part of that process involves storing the wine in such a way that outside influences can’t taint it and cause it to become anything less than what it should be.

That’s where the problem with canned wines comes into play. The use of metal in the cans instantly creates an environment in which the wines can be affected by something, be it chemicals or the metal itself. This leads to the quality lowering automatically. After all, most people don’t drink wines with the hope of getting a metallic taste. Those with more refined palettes will likely find even the most subtle changes caused by this change in container to be a little too much for them.

Beyond that, there’s the issue of how to drink the wine. Remember that many wines are produced with oxidation in mind. Some even get their best qualities from being exposed to the air as they’re poured.

That can’t happen if you’re drinking straight from a can. While a little oxygen will enter upon opening, you’re essentially depriving the wine of something essential that it needs to reach its full potential. If you do have to drink wine from a can, you should always pour it rather than swigging it straight from the can.

Having said all of this, we can see the appeal in canning wine. It makes the wine easier to transport, especially as cans are far less likely to break while in transit. It’s also a little more convenient. There’s something appealing about cracking open a can of Prosecco on a hot summer’s day.

The smaller portion sizes helps as well. Canned wine allows you to limit your consumption and also means that you don’t have to open a brand new bottle if all you want is a single glass of wine.

Unfortunately, we believe that the downsides will likely outweigh the positives. In the Italian wine industry, cans aren’t likely to be viewed with any level of respect from great producers. And that means that the wines you find in cans will usually be of a lower quality. That’s evident in the United Kingdom, where canned wines were introduced in 2018. It’s possible to buy a can of wine for as little as £2, which likely speaks volumes to the quality of the wine inside.

Why Bottles Are Best

While we anticipate a little bit of a canned wine trend to take place, we don’t believe the idea will ever come close to overtaking the generally held consensus that glass bottles are the best storage medium for wine.

After all, there are plenty of reasons why glass bottles have been used for hundreds of years, despite many advances in technology. These include the following:

  • The use glass creates a better environment for a wine to mature in. It’s essentially pure as it’s a product that comes from nature and requires little in the way of chemical alteration. Even those that are used are common elements that have little to no effect on the wine contained in the bottle.
  • Producers can apply different hues to the glass that they use to make their bottles. While this may seem like a small issue, it actually serves a purpose. A darker hue for the glass can protect the wine inside from the effects of sunlight. This is particularly important for wines that need to be protected from sunlight to maintain their quality. Of course, producers can alter the hue to achieve the opposite effect, which is something that’s not achievable with cans.
  • Glass does not allow oxygen or carbon dioxide into the bottle, at least when secured properly. This means that the wine is able to age without any interference from outside elements.

The Final Word

All of these reasons point to why it’s unlikely that we’ll see cans replace glass bottles for Italian wine.

Of course, there’s also the sophistication factor. Whether you believe it to be a good thing or not, there’s a certain level of prestige attached to wine that you don’t get with many other sorts of alcohol. The use of glass bottles plays a role in this.

We see canned wine is being little more than a novelty that may stick around for a while. But glass bottles will remain the true choice for the vast majority of producers.

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