November 1, 2017 – Wine in a can has finally caught on and it is a trend that has gone mainstream.
Backpack Wines hit the market a year ago with Snappy White and Cheeky Rosé. Rowdy Red is the newest addition just in time for fall and winter tailgate parties and any other occasion where cans make life easy. Cans travel anywhere, no corkscrew required and no glasses to wash!
Each variety of Backpack wine comes in a tidy square box of four and we liked the skinny cans holding 250 ml or one third of a bottle or 8 oz. As Goldilocks would say, not too much and not too little. It is just the right size for a single serve and the cans will slip into corners of the cooler where fat cans don’t fit.
We spoke with Jim Doehring, entrepreneur and President of Backpack Wines who launched the line one year ago in September. An industry veteran, Jim spotted a trend. “Backpack gives wine lovers a way to take their favorite beverage anywhere they go without the fragility of glass or hassle of corks while enticing non-wine fans to try an accessible, easy-going alternative to beer or malt beverages.” He sees the value of aluminum, which is lightweight and can be infinitely recycled.
A statement on the can reading “Packed by Backpack Wines, Modesto, CA” is confusing. But the law says that wherever a wine is bottled or packed, that has to be on the label. Backpack is vinted exclusively from quality Washington state grapes where the wine is made. We really enjoyed the Snappy White but just couldn’t figure the grape, as it didn’t fit the Central Valley profile. Turns out it is Riesling from the Ancient Lakes area of Washington with a touch of Pinot Blanc. Snappy White is incredibly smooth, silky and delicious. A perfect sipping wine, “easy drinking” is a great description. The four-pack disappeared way too fast.
The Cheeky Rosé is Pinot Blanc blended with Sangiovese, a red grape with lots of acidity that is familiar in Chianti. This is a very dry rosé and if dry wines are your preference, you will find it enjoyable. We found it drinkable but a bit austere. We tasted all the wines in the can and also poured into a glass. When we poured the rosé into a glass, it opened up somewhat and we could taste the fruit.
The Rowdy Red has spicy notes that we attributed to either Zinfandel or perhaps Syrah. Turns out it is Merlot blended with 25 percent Syrah. Well, we got one almost right! Syrah brings spice and backbone to the soft Merlot. We liked the Rowdy Red a lot. Pair it with pizza, burgers, and ribs, even hot dogs. Or just sip it as the grill gets going.
These wines are more than picnic wines. Their 8 oz. size and low alcohol – 11.5% abv for the white and rosé and 12.5% for the red – make them a great grab for a midweek glass when opening a bottle is too much. And they don’t take up a whole lot of room in the pantry or fridge. Backpack is widely distributed in major markets in the Midwest and South, most of the West and growing steadily in the East Coast region. An official sponsor of the Chicago Bears, it is available at stadium kiosks and is the team’s chosen tailgate wine.
A four pack sells for around $16.99 depending on local taxes and mark-ups. Single serves retail for $4.99 a can. Wines can be purchased online at https://backpack-wine.com/shop/and shipped to states that allow direct to consumer shipping.