No, canned wine is not the end of the universe. So why do we keep hearing that it is?
A recent trade magazine story asked the question, “How seriously should we be taking the rise of wines in a can?” To which my answer was, “Who cares?’
The story was mostly the same winebiz-speak we’ve been seeing for the past couple of years as cans have become more popular. To wit: The wine business is shocked to discover that consumers will drink wine out of something other than a 750-ml bottle with a cork-style closure, so it’s obvious that cans are going to take over the wine business. So we need to do something!!!!!
Is it any wonder I worry about the future of the wine business?
We read the same stuff when Tetrapaks were au courant and boxed wine was supposed to be the next big thing. And nothing changed – 75 percent of the world’s wine still comes in a 750-ml bottle with a cork-style closure.
So why the panic now? Yes, the quality of much canned wine is suspect. But why should that bother an industry that turns out vast quantities of plonk in bottles?
Because the wine business, and especially the wine business in the U.S., has so much time and money invested in keeping wine exactly the same way it has been since the end of World War II. So anything that threatens the ancien regime is to be feared. And it’s to be especially feared given the current wine climate of flat sales and increased sobriety. Even if, in the end, canned wine won’t make that much of a difference to flat sales and increased sobriety.
So why can’t we just drink wine – canned or otherwise – and enjoy it instead of rending garments and gnashing teeth about the future of the wine business? I recommend this blog post from food writer David Lebovitz. He is discussing socca, the chickpea flour pancake and or crepe thing famous in southern France, and his point is most welcome (as is his socca, one of my favorite Saturday night appetizers):
And for any wine snobs out there that think it’s folly to serve wine in cups instead of glasses haven’t had the pleasure of standing near a wood-burning oven, eating a blistering-hot wedge of socca with a non-recyclable tumbler of wine. Preferably served over ice, Marseille-style.
Photo: “FR’Nice 11’0925 – 13” by karendelucas is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0