Underwood wines come in 375 ml cans. It’s striking packaging. I was curious, so I bought a pair to try, for $5.99 each from World Foods in Portland, Oregon. They are made by Union Wine Company. They have the admirable goal of demystifying wine and making affordable, decent wine available so everyone can enjoy it, not just wealthy dudes.
It feels a bit odd to be tasting wine from the same sort of can that you’d normally be consuming soft drinks from. Super weird, actually. The wine bottle and glass is so intrinsic to the wine-drinking experience. But these cans are just so practical. Why shouldn’t wine be served this way?
After all, for craft brewers, the can is the ultimate way to sell beer, because it allows no light or oxygen in. So if you can fill cans without too much oxygen pick-up, then it will keep the wine in top condition for ages. There is, of course, the risk of reduction issues with wines that are prone to this fault, in the absence of any oxygen transmission at all. But you can imagine having a really good time with these cans in the right situation: picnics, dining alone, at the beach, in casual restaurants.
Packaging like this takes some of the fear out of the wine drinking experience. People are still afraid of wine: informal packaging makes it really approachable.
So how are the wines? Really good. Juicy and fruity and simple. No complications, but also quite appealing and dry, without too much make up. Perfectly judged for this packaging.
Underwood Pinot Gris NV Oregon
13% alcohol. This is simple, bright, zesty and juicy with ripe apple and grapefruit flavours. Balanced with a bit of spicy zip, and made lively with slightly elevated carbon dioxide. Drinkable and quite joyful. 86/100
Underwood Pinot Noir NV Oregon
13% alcohol. Light bodied, this Pinot has juicy flavours of sweet raspberries, cherries and rhubarb. There’s some chocolatey character, too. Fruity and lively with a simple, juicy personality and a hint of savoury meatiness. A fruity style that’s very drinkable. 87/100
2 thoughts on “Underwood: Oregon wine in a can”
I’m a big fan of canned beer and wine, but there’s a good bit of marketing bs going on. Number one, the basic canning lines (read affordable) allow significantly more oxygen pickup than a basic bottling line. Cans without a lid are filled, lid goes on, then the seams are sealed. Large surface area per volume and often slow filling rates. Now, the best can lines match the best bottling lines, but these cost close to a million dollars US. I used both types of lines at a large brewery and collected all sorts of data confirming this.
So, the person telling you that you pick up less dissolved oxygen (DO) on Underwood’s line is… being optimistic. As for lightstruck characters, you’re right. Aluminum is much better. Of course the cans and lid are lined with BPA, or a BPA analog. But then again so are all your tins at Tesco.
@Cris Carter. The Underwood cans say canned in Modesto, CA and The Wine Curmudgeon believes that they are canned by Gallo. They may have access to a million dollar canning line there. Still odd how Underwood doesn’t disclose anything about the “canned in Modesto, CA” anywhere I can find online.