Wine on the Move: 29 Top-Rated Wines in Cans and Boxes

The best of what alternative packaging has to offer, from the U.S. West Coast to South America

Wine on the Move: 29 Top-Rated Wines in Cans and Boxes
Warmer months beckon for a more portable side of wine. (Jules Davies)
May 22, 2019

There have never been more options for wine on the go. A wave of producers is packaging high-quality wine in both cans and boxes from a range of grapes, such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Zinfandel and Rhône varieties, with some foregoing bottles altogether. Below are some of the highest-rated alternatively packaged wines from recent tastings, perfect for a day at the beach, or anywhere cumbersome bottles can't go.


Canned wine sales are skyrocketing. Read our news story on the growing trend in alternative packaging in wine.


Alloy Wine Works made one of the highest-scoring wines here, a crisp and fruity Chardonnay that was aged in stainless steel. Its Pinot Noir spent 12 months in neutral French oak, and offers good value, especially for Pinot, which can often be costly.

Winemakers typically aim for easygoing styles, sometimes adding a light fizz. Bonny Doon's La Bulle-Moose Rousse, a fresh and approachable blend of Grenache and Syrah from the Central Coast, was fermented in stainless steel and then carbonated just before canning to keep it lively.

While some winemakers focus on specific regions, others cast a wider net for their wines. Ron Penner-Ash sources from growers up and down the West Coast for the Free Public snappy red, a blend of Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley in Oregon, and Merlot from Yakima Valley in Washington.

Producers are taking a similar approach with their boxed wine, sourcing from different regions and countries to keep costs low and quality high. Hal Landvoigt at House Wine tapped Chile's vast Central Valley for its lively and fruity Cabernet, a good option for a barbecue, especially since the 3-liter box holds four standard bottles' worth of wine.

Top-Scoring Recent Canned Wine Releases

The wines below were reviewed blind in Wine Spectator's Napa office, decanted into empty glass bottles to disguise their original packaging and tasted alongside wines originally bottled in glass.


WEST + WILDER

White American NV

Score: 88

WS review: Orange blossom, fennel and lemongrass notes are fragrant up front, giving way to a crisp, sleek mix of Key lime and grapefruit flavors. Manages to pack in a lot of flavor on a weightless, juicy frame. Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Viognier, Muscat and Chardonnay. Sold as a three-pack of 250ml cans for $20. Drink now. 4,500 cases made.—MaryAnn Worobiec


ALLOY WINE WORKS

Chardonnay Central Coast NV

Score: 87 | $7/375ml

WS review: Fruity, with fresh-cut pear and ripe apple flavors that feature tangerine accents. Toasty notes show on the crisp finish. Drink now. 2,750 cases made.—Kim Marcus


FERDINAND

Rosé California 2018

Score: 87 | $9/375ml

WS review: Floral watermelon and orange zest aromas open to crisp and snappy flavors. Drink now. 700 cases made.—Tim Fish


FREE PUBLIC

Rosé American NV

Score: 87

WS review: Soft and user-friendly, with zesty strawberry and spiced watermelon flavors. Syrah and Pinot Gris. Sold as a three-pack of 250ml cans for $15. Drink now. 5,000 cases made.—T.F.


UNION WINE COMPANY

Pinot Noir Oregon Underwood NV

Score: 87 | $7/375ml

WS review: Snappy and fruit-forward, with bright cherry and sassafras flavors. Drink now through 2020.—T.F.


WEST + WILDER

Rosé California NV

Score: 87

WS review: Crisp and snappy, with easygoing orange peel and strawberry flavors. Zinfandel, Pinot Noir and Carignane. Sold as a three-pack of 250ml cans for $20. Drink now. 5,185 cases made.—T.F.


BONNY DOON

La Bulle-Moose Rousse Central Coast 2017

Score: 86

WS review: Fresh and approachable, offering lively strawberry and smoky cherry flavors that finish with a whisper of fizz. Grenache and Syrah. Sold as four-pack of 375ml cans for $32. Drink now. 679 cases made.—T.F.


CANNED OREGON

Pinot Gris Oregon NV

Score: 86 | $8/375ml

WS review: Soft and a touch sweet, with moderate pear flavors. Drink now. 3,700 cases made.—T.F.


FREE PUBLIC

Red Blend American NV

Score: 86

WS review: A snappy little red, strictly generic but lively, with cherry and smoked pepper flavors. Pinot Noir and Merlot. Sold as a three-pack of 250ml cans for $15. Drink now. 4,500 cases made.—T.F.


JAM

Rosé Candy California NV

Score: 86

WS review: Easygoing, with succulent raspberry and spice flavors. Syrah and Grenache. Sold as a four-pack of 250ml cans for $20. Drink now. 15,000 cases made.—T.F.


UNION WINE COMPANY

Rosé Underwood Oregon NV

Score: 86 | $7/375ml

WS review: Crisp and snappy, with lively rose petal and cherry flavors. Drink now.—T.F.


ALLOY WINE WORKS

Pinot Noir Central Coast NV

Score: 85 | $7/375ml

WS review: Cedary hints accent the dried red fruit flavors. Offers a clean finish, with notes of smoke and slightly charred underbrush. Drink now. 2,200 cases made.—K.M.


JAM

Chardonnay California Butter NV

Score: 85

WS review: Fruity and filled with red peach and apple tart flavors. Roasted almond accents show on the finish. Sold as a four-pack of 250ml cans for $20. Drink now. 12,000 cases made.—K.M.


UNION WINE COMPANY

Pinot Gris Oregon Underwood NV

Score: 85 | $7/375ml

WS review: Crisp and lively, with grapefruit and honeydew flavors. Drink now.—T.F.


WINESOCIETY

Tempt California NV

Score: 85 | $10/500ml

WS review: Fruit-forward and zesty, with low-key cherry and pepper flavors. Syrah, Petit Verdot and Petite Sirah. Drink now. 7,000 cases made.—T.F.


ALLOY WINE WORKS

Everyday Red Central Coast NV

Score: 84 | $7/375ml

WS review: A touch sweet and simple, with cherry jam and spicy vanilla flavors. Zinfandel, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Graciano and Carignane. Drink now. 2,750 cases made.—T.F.


BONNY DOON

La Bulle-Moose Blanche Central Coast 2017

Score: 84

WS review: Light and lemony, with a refreshing fizziness, and a slight grassy and floral edge on the finish. Vermentino. Sold as a four-pack of 375ml cans for $32. Drink now. 2,521 cases made.—M.W.


FREE PUBLIC

White American NV

Score: 84

WS review: Refreshing and vibrantly juicy in a smooth and nondescript way, offering moderate pear and citrus flavors, with faint whiffs of dried floral and herb notes. Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Sold as a three-pack of 250ml cans for $15. Drink now. 4,500 cases made.—M.W.


Top-Scoring Recent Box Wine Releases

The wines below were reviewed blind in Wine Spectator's Napa office, decanted into empty glass bottles to disguise their original packaging and tasted alongside wines originally bottled in glass.


HOUSE WINE

Cabernet Sauvignon Central Valley NV

Score: 87 | $25/3L

WS review: Lively and fruity, with blueberry, cassis and red plum flavors. The spicy finish has some chocolaty notes. Drink now. 20,000 cases made.—K.M.


WINE CUBE

Rosé California 2017

Score: 87 | $18/3L

WS review: Easygoing, with lightly zesty watermelon and strawberry flavors. Merlot, Syrah, Gewürztraminer, Moscato and Viognier. Drink now. 27,000 cases made.—T.F.


WINE CUBE

Chardonnay California 2017

Score: 86 | $18/3L

WS review: Juicy, with touches of richness to the pear tart and dried apple flavors. The creamy finish shows hints of fennel and plenty of spice details. Drink now. 30,000 cases made.—K.M.


HOUSE WINE

Original Red Blend Central Valley NV

Score: 85 | $25/3L

WS review: A jammy and fruity style, with boysenberry and cherry tart flavors that feature ripe spicy notes. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Drink now. 20,000 cases made.—K.M.


BANDIT

Chardonnay California NV

Score: 84 | $10/1L

WS review: A straightforward white, with pear and ripe apple flavors. Buttery hints show on the finish. Drink now. 80,000 cases made.—K.M.


BANDIT

Red Blend California NV

Score: 84 | $10/1L

WS review: Simple and slightly sweet, with moderate cherry and toasted spice flavors. Zinfandel, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Drink now. 10,000 cases made.—T.F.


BANDIT

Sauvignon Blanc California NV

Score: 84 | $10/1L

WS review: Medium-bodied, with a whiff of fennel and dried hay notes mingling with lemony flavors and sturdy acidity. Drink now. 3,000 cases made.—M.W.


BOTA BOX

Nighthawk Black California 2017

Score: 84 | $20/3L

WS review: A juicy quaff, with easygoing cherry and toasted spice flavors. Zinfandel, Syrah and Merlot. Drink now. 500,000 cases made.—T.F.


BOTA BOX

Pinot Grigio California 2017

Score: 84 | $23/3L

WS review: Distinctively floral, set on a crisp, tangy frame, with candied green apple and pear flavors. Drink now. 693,000 cases made.—M.W.


BOTA BOX

Rosé Dry California 2017

Score: 84 | $23/3L

WS review: Simple, with hints of peach and watermelon. Chenin Blanc, Zinfandel and Petit Sirah. Drink now. 127,000 cases made.—T.F.


ORIGINAL HOUSE WINE

Rosé America NV

Score: 84 | $25/3L

WS review: Soft and sweet, with slight cherry and spice flavors. Drink now. 5,000 cases made.—T.F.

Tasting Reports Boxes / cartons Cans Packaging

You Might Also Like

Alphabetical Guide to 2018 Bordeaux Barrels

Alphabetical Guide to 2018 Bordeaux Barrels

Nearly 300 barrel samples were reviewed for this report. WineSpectator.com members can …

Jul 31, 2019
9 Napa Cabernets that Deliver the Goods for Less

9 Napa Cabernets that Deliver the Goods for Less

From $32 to $50, you won't find better quality for the price than these new reviews of …

Jun 17, 2019
8 Food-Friendly Tuscan Reds for $20 or Less

8 Food-Friendly Tuscan Reds for $20 or Less

Sangiovese works in mysterious ways—check out these new reviews of this versatile Italian …

Jun 13, 2019
Produttori del Barbaresco's 2014 Single-Vineyard Riservas

Produttori del Barbaresco's 2014 Single-Vineyard Riservas

The Barbaresco cooperative presented 9 distinct Nebbiolos from the challenging yet …

Jun 12, 2019
A Comeback for the Ages

A Comeback for the Ages

Bordeaux rallies in 2018 after a mildew-plagued spring to produce an exciting crop of wines

Jul 31, 2019
9 Barbecue-Ready Reds That'll Make You Put Down the Beer

9 Barbecue-Ready Reds That'll Make You Put Down the Beer

These newly reviewed wines from California are great matches for your summer cookouts

Jun 10, 2019
WineRatings+

WineRatings+

Xvalues

Xvalues

Restaurant Search

Restaurant Search