Winebits 650: Canned wine, wine advice, half bottles

canned wineThis week’s wine news: Will aluminum shortage slow canned wine’s growth? Plus, sensible advice in a new book and the popularity of half bottles

Canned wine: Two blog readers reported an absence of canned soft drinks during supermarket visits recently, which seemed odd. Who runs out of diet Coke? Turns out the pandemic has screwed up the aluminum supply chain, thanks to increasing demand for canned beer during the duration. Says one supplier for the wine business: “We have to ensure that we don’t get into a toilet paper situation.” In addition, some beer and wine producers have seen price gouging from can suppliers.

Keep it simple: A new wine book has given the WC reason for hope. “‘How to Drink Wine” (Clarkson Potter, $17), by Chris Stang and Grant Reynolds, wants to make wine as accessible as possible. Says Stang: “Wine can be intimidating for some people. Some might think they don’t have the time to ‘be into wine.” You can learn by just drinking wine with friends and talking about it.” Sound familiar? And lots more welcome than most of the “advice”” we get from the wine business?

Bring on the half bottles: The 375 ml bottle, not especially common before the pandemic, is enjoying a resurgence. Reports the Wine Enthusiast: “Easily shippable for virtual tastings and a sensible substitute for by-the-glass service, the small-format bottle is especially suited to pandemic life.” One East Coast retailer increased his half-bottle inventory by 60 percent, and several retailers have told me they can’t keep the smaller size in stock.

2 thoughts on “Winebits 650: Canned wine, wine advice, half bottles

  • By Robert P Behlendorf - Reply

    Half bottles have always been a good option, especially as the appropriate amount for 2 people for dinner. Also to allow for a broader diversity in personal wine storage. Problem is bottle cost to producer. I am certain producers view half bottles as needing to set a retail price that appears not to offer value to the consumer. If the producers promoted half bottles as the perfect option for mealtime and health, they might be on to something. On canned wine, the image is less than bottles for the true wine aficionado, so that leaves the consumer who really cares little for what they are drinking. Therefore, producers probably do not, will not, put quality wine in cans. On new wine books, do we really need another? Wine for dummies is a good starter book. Then, just get out and taste wines and determine your own personal preferences. No book can taste wine for you. Over and out.

    • By Wine Curmudgeon - Reply

      The other place half bottles make sense is for pricey wines. I once bought a half bottle of really nice Savennieres (in Alaska, of all places) because I didn’t want to pay $40 for the entire bottle.

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