By Jim Campanini
Did you ever drink wine from a can?
Odds are that you haven’t, but times are a changin’ and so is the wine industry.
Canned wines are gaining popularity worldwide, especially in the United States, Europe and the Asia Pacific region. The reasons are obvious: cans are portable, recyclable and less expensive than glass.
The global market hit $231 million in sales in 2020, according to Global View Research, and that total is expected to more than double to $571 million by 2028.
Craig Gandolf, a Lowell resident, is on the leading edge of the trend.
He spoke about the endeavor in a recent appearance on my Grapefully Yours Wine Podcast, which can be seen on www.InsideLowell.com
Click this link to watch:
More than a year ago, Gandolf said he and two longtime industry colleagues developed a brand of canned wines from Spain and Germany called “Hands Off” wine (HOW). The name refers to the “low intervention” process (organically grown grapes, no chemicals, no sugar added) to make fresh, pure wines.
There are five Spanish wines under the Hands Off umbrella and four from Germany.
The Spanish wines are a rose`, white blend, “orange” white, red blend and 100 percent Garnatxa (garnacha/grenache).
The German wines, from the Rhine River Valley region, feature a Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Riesling and Perlwein (semi-sparkling, carbonated wine).
The wines are sold separately in 4-packs (SRP: $26). Each can contains 250 milliliters of wine (8.45 ounces) and is beautifully designed by award-winning artist Annita Rivera.
Hands Off wines are also sold in 750 ml. glass bottles, according to Gandolf.
What follows is a summary of the Hands Off canned wines from Spain which I’ve sampled several times over the past two months and found them to be highly satisfying.
Hands Off Orange Wine 2021, La Beguda Baixa (Barcelona), abv. 14.5% – This is a 100 percent certified biodynamic wine made in conjunction with Castell d’Age, an industry leader in organic farming. The taste is pure, fresh and zesty, built on orange, grapefruit and earthy notes. The native Garnatxa Blanca (white grenache) grape is the 100% fruit source.
The white wine picks up its orange-color hue from the maceration process, where the juice is left in contact with grape skins for eight days.
Hands Off Orange is not a chug-a-lug wine. It’s well-made with a high alcohol content and should be taken seriously for total enjoyment.
Hands Off The White Wine 2020, Catalunya, abv. 12.5% – The artistic image of an 8-point buck peering out of a wine glass adds “can appeal” to a fascinating white blend: Xarel-lo (60%) and Muscat de Frontignan (40%). Citrus and lemon flavors flow nicely on a smooth frame, leading to a tingling finish of pleasant mineral notes.
Hands Off The Rose` Wine 2020, Catalunya, abv. 12% – One of my HOW favorites, this rose` turns on the charm with its vibrant acidity and refreshing strawberry ice flavor. Organically grown Grenache (70%) and Pinot Noir (30%) make up the blend. If you do pour it into a glass, the color is bright pink and alluring. Once again, its pop art can design is “eye” catching.
Hands Off Garnatxa 2021, La Beguda Baixa (Barcelona), abv. 14% – Castell d’Age vineyards supply the biodynanically farmed grapes for this 100% Garantxa (grenache). It’s a completely natural wine without the addition of sulfur, filtration or clarification.
taste is top notch, full of penetrating cherry and raspberry flavors that flow smoothly on a medium-bodied frame. A citrusy orange trait emerges mid-palate to further the excitement.
Hands Off The Red Wine 2020, Catalunya, abv. 13.5% – For a richer tasting wine, with a touch of oak, comes this Tempranillo-Garnacha (grenache) mixture that earns solid marks all around. The aging process – six months in French oak casks, two months in American oak – add to a plush mouthfeel and layers of dark cherry, licorice and lavender flavors. While good to go right out of the can, this wine holds up well with a slight chill on it, making hot days by the pool a more comfortable experience.