Sommeliers may take offense, but canned wine is a booming business. In January, Crozet’s King Family Vineyards popped the top on this trend by rolling out its first cases of canned Crosé, its popular rosé wine.
As winemaker Matthieu Finot explains, King’s been making a dry, fruit-forward rosé since 2003, and now harvests Merlot grapes specifically for the Crosé. After the crush, the juice rests briefly on the red grapes’ skins, resulting in a pale-pink wine with “less alcohol and more freshness,” Finot says. The King Family website describes “notes of grapefruit, lime, watermelon, and a light grassiness on the nose…and flavors of bitter cherry, peach, and rose petal” on the palate.
“We went from producing 100 cases [of bottles] in the first year to over 4,000 cases in 2018,” Finot says. “The demand for [Crosé] keeps increasing, along with the rosé consumption in the United States.” So it made sense to King and Finot to capitalize on the rising popularity of canned wine, especially among younger drinkers.
After all, wine and portability generally don’t mix. If you want to savor a glass of grape on the go, you’ll need to lug around a heavy glass bottle, a corkscrew, and glasses (unless you want to swig straight from the bottle). And once you’ve opened a bottle, you’ll need to finish it promptly to keep the wine from losing its freshness—a strategy more advisable at home than while you’re out and about. Each can of Crosé, in contrast, is roughly the size of a generous glass of wine, and a four-pack has the same volume as a bottle at the same price.
“Also, canning is better for the environment,” says Finot—lighter, more recyclable, and with less waste. King canned its first 500 cases of 2018 Crosé the same week it bottled the rest of the vintage, with help from a mobile canning company that came to the vineyard.
Cans are sold exclusively at the vineyard, and Finot says they’re planning on more cases of cans for the 2019 vintage to meet the rising demand. “Most of the customers like the convenience of it,” Finot says.
And what would Finot say to wine snobs who can’t bear the thought of aluminum-clad vino? “They can still buy Crosé in bottles,” he says, “but it is less practical on the golf course!”
King Family Vineyards, 6550 Roseland Farm, Crozet; 823-7800; kingfamilyvineyards.com