South African Wine Producers Join The Growing International Canned Wine Trend

Canned wine may currently be getting consumers’ attention but, in reality, it is not new – already in the mid-1930s three sweet wines made their appearance on the American market. Californian Smile with Vin-Tin-Age Port, Tokay and Muscadel were presented in flat top tins (as pull-tops were not yet invented) which had to be punctured in order to pour out the contents.

The trend did not last – mainly due to poor quality tin which resulted in the wine tasting like… well… tin. In addition, a lack of wine-making science at the time resulted in unstable, over-sulphured wines, which quickly led to consumers writing off wine in tins as a bad idea.

But cans are back, supported by better technology and creative packaging ideas, and this time they are here to stay. It is for this reason that the Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards have opened the 2020 competition for wine in cans, a move which will give producers the opportunity to show off their awarded wines to a younger generation on the go!

South African Wine and Spirit Board spokesperson, Olivia Poonah, told Michelangelo founder and organiser of the competition, Lorraine Immelman, that the WSB board had authorised the use of aluminium cans for certified wine in 2019. “Such cans must have a maximum volume of 340ml and a shelf life of at least 12 months,” she said. In addition, the can must be internally coated with a Bisphenol-A Epoxy-Acrylate lacquer to minimize the interactions between the packaging and the wine, although the board recommends compatibility testing of wines before producers launch their products commercially. 

As a result, the South African market has seen various brands of canned wines being introduced into the market since October 2019.

Premium canned wines on the South African market

Ground-breaking Uncanny Wine brand owners, Ruan Viljoen and Arnold Vlok, launched South Africa’s first certified wine in a can in October 2019 with their vegan friendly, no-sulphur Chenin Blanc and Merlot. Currently they are working towards adding a Pinotage Rosé along with a de-alcoholised Sauvignon Blanc and Pinotage later this season. Says Arnold, “The concept immediately proved popular, resulting in the Uncanny range now being available in retailers countrywide.”

Launched in November 2019, Ben Wren’s range of four premium wines in a can (Red Blend, Sauvignon Blanc, Rosé and Bubbly Rosé)  – with a Chenin Blanc on the cards – is proving a top selling range in Pick & Pay retailers country wide. Ben Wren’s wine is produced by award-winning winemaker Attie Louw of Opstal Wine Estate in Rawsonville, which makes it all the more sought-after.  “Premium estate wines partnered with stunningly versatile, earth-friendly packaging. It’s a win-win-win wine!” he says.

From the Darling region comes Cloof Wine Estate’s colourful Rocking the Daisies range, consisting of three award-winning wines by Hennie Huskisson which were launched earlier this year. With a low carbon footprint and a higher recycling rate than glass, the concept of wines in a can ties in perfectly with the modern approach to more sustainable farming and more environmentally-friendly wine production practices. 

Canned wine ranges that have emerged this year include Spier’s 250ml canned Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc 2020; Black Elephant Vintners Sauvignon Blanc and Rosé, Perdeberg Wine’s Soft Smooth Range and Renegade Wines’ Chenin Blanc, Mourvedre Rosé and Grenache.

With the South African climate and our outdoorsy lifestyle, wine in unbreakable cans is perfect for the beach, poolside and hiking trails.

Previously, the challenge seemingly lay in marrying two extremes:  top quality wines which appeal to the discerning palate, but packaged in brightly coloured tin cans, often animated or with a humorous take. However, clearly these challenges have all been met and even the most judicious wine consumer can now have it all!

Ensure your wines in a can are presented to Michelangelo’s judging panel for the chance to not only win an award, but also gain access to new markets, new sales channels and new brand-building opportunities. Enter at Closing date is 31 July 2020.