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The North Bay’s best canned wines

Canned wines? I wasn’t convinced, either. But last January, while staying at the Boonville Hotel on a trip to the Anderson Valley, I found a pretty little canned white wine—West and Wilder’s “White”—in my mini-fridge, and was shocked at how good it was. I was so impressed I made a mental note: ”quality wine in cans is going to be a thing … keep an eye out for better wines in cans in 2020 and 2021!” Little did I know we’d face a global pandemic and a shut-down economy a few months later, which would fast-track the trend towards quality canned wine in response to ever-increasing consumer demand for environmentally friendly containers that allow for less over-consumption.

And, while most of the really good stuff isn’t yet available at major supermarkets—with a couple of exceptions—we’ve got a handful of North Bay businesses offering top quality canned wines for purchase directly or at local markets and shops. Read on for my top 11 picks for the best North Bay canned wines.

Side note on canned wine drinking etiquette: It’s not recommended to drink canned wines out of the actual can! Just like with any other wine, a nice glass is the best vessel from which to drink. If you’re in a pinch or are enjoying your wine while camping, at the beach or hiking it’s still going to taste so much better if you pour it into a hard plastic glass and give it a little air than if you sip it out of the can. Also, remember that these cans contain the equivalent of ⅓ or ½ of a bottle of wine …

West and Wilder ‘White’

Aromatic, slightly floral and simply lovely. This is the prettiest aromatic canned white wine, in one of the prettiest cans, that I’ve ever had! Made from fruit sourced in Oregon and Washington, and crafted by Sonoma-based West and Wilder. 

Alcohol 12.5%. 250 ml (⅓ of a wine bottle). Average retail price = $6/can

Purchase Maker wines directly via their website (westandwilder.com) or at the following North Bay businesses: Penngrove Market, Andy’s Produce (Sebastopol), Bottle Barn, Mill Valley Market, Oakville Market (Napa), Dahlia and Sage (Cloverdale), and a few more.

Link to wine: westandwilder.com/shopping/westwilder-white-wine-3-pack

Maker 2020 Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc

This sparkling sauvignon blanc from Novato-based Maker Wine and Chris Christensen of Bodkin Wines smacks you in the face with brightness, zip and deliciousness. No harsh, forced carbonation here—which is what I find in most sparkling canned wines. Just a softly sparkling sauvignon blanc, reminiscent of a touraine blanc, that will make you want to run out and get some fresh oysters or goat cheese, and a baguette.

Alcohol: 10.6%. 250 ml. Average retail price = $8/can


Purchase Maker wines directly on their website (makerwine.com) or at the following North Bay businesses: Mill Valley Market, Palace Market, Farm Shop Marin, Golden Gate Market (Sausalito), Bacchus and Venus (Sausalito), and a few more.

Link to wine: 

makerwine.com/product/2020-sparkling-sauvignon-blanc-6-pack

Two Shepherds “Natty Pets” Sparkling Picpoul (Organic)

Two Shepherds really nailed this pét-nat style. Get the play on words … Natty Pets … pet nat …? No harsh, forced carbonation in this canned bubbly. Just a very slight, soft almost-bubble, like that found in pétillant naturel-style wines. It’s also not stinky or sour—like I find some pét-nats to be. Just nice and refreshing, with slight canned peach notes and a clean finish. If you haven’t tried this one, go get some.

This wine is currently only available locally at the winery and online via the winery’s website, but will soon hit the shelf at Bottle Barn, so keep an eye out in their canned wine section!

Link to wine:

www.twoshepherds.com/product/Natty-Pets-Sparkling?pageID=C1541E32-0EB8-DEC1-0567-1396262BFBFF&sortBy=DisplayOrder&maxRows=10&

Lucky Rock Wine Co. “County Cuvee” Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc

Light, bright and refreshing. This sauvignon blanc from Sonoma County–based Lucky Wine Rock Co. is, according to my stepfather, “so much nicer to sip on a hot day while playing bocce than a bottle of red wine; plus, then I don’t have to waste half of a $40 bottle.” I couldn’t agree more!

Alcohol 13.3%. 250 ml. Average retail price = Just under $7/can

Purchase Lucky Rock’s wines directly on their website (luckyrockwineco.com) or at the following North Bay businesses: Bottle Barn, Oliver’s Markets, Andy’s Produce and a few more.

Brick and Mortar “Blanc”

This chenin blanc–chardonnay blend from Brick and Mortar—Healdsburg-based, sourcing fruit from Napa, Sonoma and beyond—is what some would call a “porch pounder.” Light, simple, refreshing and affordable. It isn’t complicated, and at $6 per 375 ml can, it doesn’t have to be. This canned white is also one of the only wines on this list that can be found at a major supermarket. Most Sonoma County Safeway stores I’ve visited carry it.

Alcohol 11.5%. 375 ml (½ a wine bottle). Average retail price = $6/can.

In addition to being available at local Safeway and Andronicos stores, Brick and Mortar canned wines are available via their website or Good Eggs’ online organic grocery delivery.

Link to purchase: brickandmortarwines.vinespring.site/purchase

Maker 2020 Rosé of Grenache

This grenache rosé, from Maker and Nicole Walsh of Ser Winery, bursts with fresh watermelon and pomegranate on the nose. On the palate: a juicy watermelon Jolly Rancher with a slightly bitter watermelon rind note that leads to a strawberry fruit leather finish with a dash of salinity. 

Alcohol 13.4%. 250 ml. Average retail price = $8/can.

Where to purchase this wine:

Purchase Maker wines directly on their website (makerwine.com) or at the following North Bay businesses: Mill Valley Market, Palace Market, Farm Shop Marin, Golden Gate Market (Sausalito), Bacchus and Venus (Sausalito), and a few more.

Link to wine: 

makerwine.com/product/2020-rose-grenache-6-pack

Sixteen 600 Primitivo Rosé

Primitivo on the nose, party on the palate. This canned primitivo rosé, from Phil Coturri of Cannard Family Farms in Sonoma Valley, shows the darker side of rosé … and it’s pretty delicious!

Alcohol 13%. 250 ml. Price = $8/can (Note: The winery only sells them in 24-pack cases)

The only place you can currently purchase Sixteen 600’s Primitivo Rosé, other than their online wine shop, is Baker and Cook in Sonoma, when in stock.

Link to shop: winerysixteen600.com/wine-store.html?bpid=10211

Two Shepherds “Bucking Luna” Sparkling Cinsault-Carignane (Organic)

Light, bright, fruity and refreshing. No funk, no oak, low alcohol and very low tannins. This organically made sparkling wine is what I would call the ultimate chillable, sippable red. I can’t wait to throw some of this wine in my bag for an upcoming camping trip, or in the fridge to enjoy at my next family barbecue—there’s just something about carignane and grilled meat …

Just a reminder from owner/winemaker William, “Yes, you can drink this wine from the can, but … do you drink wine straight from the bottle?”

Alcohol: 10.5%. 375 ml. Price = $11/can.

This wine is currently only available locally at the winery and online via the winery’s website, but will soon hit the shelf at Bottle Barn, so keep an eye out in their canned wine section!

Maker 2018 Merlot 

Another winner from Maker, this 2018 single-vineyard Napa Valley merlot by winemaker Ian Devereux of Smith-Devereux will convince even the most die-hard canned wine shade-thrower that great red wine really can come out of a can. Silky soft, with notes of dark chocolate, blackberry-plum, black pepper and a hint of lavender, this soft-yet-structured merlot is a damn fine glass of wine. And the wine judges and critics seem to agree, as they’ve awarded this wine 16 gold medals in just three vintages.

Alcohol 13.8%. 250 ml. Price = $14/can (Note: Sold in 6 packs; 10 or 20% discounts for Can Club members) 

Purchase Maker wines directly on their website (makerwine.com), or at the following North Bay businesses: Mill Valley Market, Palace Market, Farm Shop Marin, Golden Gate Market (Sausalito), Bacchus and Venus (Sausalito), and a few more.

*Please note that some of Maker’s canned wines—such as this one—are only available to their Can Club members, but this wine may be purchased in bottles directly from Smith Devereux via their online wine shop.

Link to wine: makerwine.com/product/2018-merlot-6-pack

Maker 2019 Cabernet Pfeffer

Another delicious wine, from Maker and Nicole Walsh of Ser Winery, this cabernet pfeffer—yes, this is a real grape—offers a serious wine at a pretty small price, though it is currently only available for purchase to Maker Can Club members. The winemakers’ tasting notes for this wine, which I completely concur with, include “cranberry, pomegranate, and white pepper.”

Cabernet pfeffer is a rare grape, and this wine is made from fruit that comes from 100-year-old vines in the Cienega Valley.

Purchase Maker wines directly on their website (makerwine.com), or at the following North Bay businesses: Mill Valley Market, Palace Market, Farm Shop Marin, Golden Gate Market (Sausalito), Bacchus and Venus (Sausalito), and a few more.

*Please note that some of Maker’s canned wines, such as this one, are only available to their Can Club members, but this wine may be purchased, in bottle form, directly from Ser Winery.

Larkan Red Wine

This Napa Valley merlot blend, from winemaker Sean Larkin and Larkin Wines, offers drinkers a premium wine, sourced from premium vineyards, at a not-so-premium price. If you like rich, full-bodied Napa reds, this one’s for you. Best of all? You don’t have to worry about opening an entire $50 bottle that you may or may not be able to finish. Larkan’s 250 ml format and reasonable price point mean that you can pour a glass of really good red wine for around $5–$7/glass.
Purchase online at larkan.wine.

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