Usually when we reach for a canned beverage it’s a soda, beer or even flavored sparkling water. These are cans we all know.
You don’t expect to see a can of wine sitting next to that cold can of soda. Most of us enjoy our wine poured from a bottle.
So what’s the difference between the bottle and can?
Can a can of wine taste the same as a bottle? In a nutshell (or grape skin), maybe…
Let’s get into container size first
A standard wine bottle is 750 ml or 25 oz or about 5 to 6 glasses depending on how good or bad your day has gone. In comparison, a can averages about 250 – 350 ml, so 2 servings on average.
When it comes to wine, size really does matter!
Wine enjoys flexing in a larger container. If you have ever had the privilege of sampling wine from a tank or barrel right before bottling, it is incredible. Everything about the wine really shines through–fruit, acid, structure, mouth feel, it’s all there.
Bigger is better in this case.
Chemically wine is made up of 98% water and ethanol. The rest is a combination of acids, sugars, volatile flavor and aroma compounds, pigment compounds and tannins. It’s this 2% that makes the most difference.
That little percent gives a wine its unique flavor, color, aroma and individuality.
It is also this 2% that requires that extra space. Once you move the wine into a smaller container, it changes it’s characteristics a bit…tightens up, if you will. That is why you decant or aerate a wine before you drink it. You are trying to get the wine back to that tank or barrel state.
So, what we’ve learned so far is that wine likes space.
Next let’s look at the container itself
The reason that a glass bottle is used for wine is that there is no leaching from the bottle to affect the wine. For reds, you almost always have a darker glass to keep the UV rays out.
If the winery thinks it is an age-worthy wine, you will most likely see a natural cork (cork made from the bark of a cork tree) as the closure to allow a bit of air for further aging in a cellar. Most ready-to-drink wines will have a synthetic cork or a screw cap closure.
A can is…well, a can. Not much to it. Vacuum sealed and ready to go. No UV getting into that little thing.
The advertised advantages of the can is convenience. Easy and faster to chill, easy to hold, very sustainable and no extra equipment needed to open or drink from. I guess you can drink from the bottle too, but the classy level drops after that.
One thing to note about canned wines is BPA. BPA is the epoxy that contains bisphenol A, the chemical that keeps foods from reacting to aluminum, and it used for the best preservation of canned contents.
So that means canned wine has the same type of risks as those attributed to BPA–hormonal damage, reproductive disorders, heart disease, irregular brain development and cancer.
There are BPA-free lined cans out there, but there is a danger if left in high heat for too long.
According to a study by George Bittner, a professor of neurobiology at the University of Texas-Austin,“almost all commercially available plastics can unlock potentially harmful chemicals in high-temperature conditions.”
In fact, Bittner’s research goes on to say that some BPA-free products released synthetic estrogens that were more potent than BPA. Without extensive research, it’s difficult to know for sure how a can of wine (or its liner) could be harmful.
I have nothing against the can…just putting the information out there so you can make an educated decision.
Let’s see what’s inside the container
This part is really up to the individual drinker of the canned wine. Who’s to say what’s really better tasting for you? You are really on your own for this part.
I have found the best way to figure this out is to get a can of red wine and a can of white wine and a bottle of red wine and a bottle of white wine from the same producer with the same wine.
All conditions being equal, this test should showcase the wine.
After milling around the wine section for a while, I could only find one can of Rose and one bottle of Rose from the same producer. The wine in the can is a NV Rose, the wine in bottle is a 2018 Rose both from a popular producer in Northern California.
I popped them into the fridge for 5 hours to get them cold.
Now, I am a bit of a nerd when it comes to serving temp for wine. Since this is a test, I wanted both wines to be the exact temp. I used a quick read thermometer to check this out. Both were at 45 degrees.
The taste test – Does Bottled Wine Taste Better Than Canned?
Now, I just want to clarify that this is not a detailed wine critic review. This is a basic, “does this taste better than that” scenario. I poured equal amounts in the same style of wine glass. Swirled properly and gave them an equal 3 sips to get the jist.
First impression of the nose, was that the bottled wine gave me more. It was really up front with very little effort to get the aroma. Now on the other hand, I really had to inhale to get anything out of the canned wine and what I got wasn’t much.
Basic conclusion is that the bottled Rose had more flavor. The canned wine was just flat, not a lot there. Really no flavor points that stuck with me.
So, size does matter…when it comes to the container.By the way, this was a screw top bottle. So, just like the can, no extra equipment necessary to open!
Please don’t forget that this is a very tiny sample of what is really out there, and is 1 persons’ opinion. Since this wine really doesn’t cost a lot to try, it is always fun to experiment.