×

Why more people are drinking good wine out of cans and boxes

With the new trend in wine drinking taking shape, no bottle opener is needed. Nowadays, more wine is being packaged with a pull-top instead of a cork.

According to Nielsen sales data, the canned wine category took in $39 million in sales year over year in August. All of which raises the question: Why?

"It just took off like crazy this year," Food & Wine executive wine editor Ray Isle told CNBC's "On the Money" recently. "The growth is up 60 percent in one year. And practically half of that is in the last 12 weeks," Isle added.

Similar to microbrewers, more vineyards are packaging their wine in cans, and Isle said millennials are the target.

"It addresses an audience that wants convenience in a way that bottles don't allow," he said. By using a tin container, you can take wine "anywhere you can't bring glass, like the beach, camping, hiking, or sports events."

Isle added that the canned wine trend is environmentally sound. "Ecologically, it's friendlier. It's more recyclable. Lower carbon footprint because it's much lighter to ship than glass."

Source: Underwood

Meanwhile, winemakers are trying different types of wine beverages in the new option. Isle pointed to a wine/beer hybrid called Underwood Riesling Radler, made by Oregon's Union Wine Company.

"It's Riesling with hops, malt and grapefruit juice. It's a very strange thing," Isle joked. "It's sort of like a wine cooler that's half a beer."

Another non-glass growing wine segment is wine in a box. According to Nielsen data, in August, boxed wine sales are up 8.5 percent over a year ago, bringing in $1.28 billion in sales.

"Box wine was always the thing on the bottom shelf next to the big jugs of wine, it was largely garbage," Isle told CNBC. However, he added that stigma is fading.

"What happened is there's been a shift towards the premium end of boxed wine," the editor said. Isle mentioned Bota Box's California Cabernet Sauvignon. The box holds three liters, and "there's actually 4 bottles of wine in this."

Isle insisted that drinkers are "getting a tasty wine" for about 23 bucks. "So it breaks down to about $6 bucks a bottle. For a wine that's probably $10 or $12 in a bottle."

Their 'strangeness' notwithstanding, he said boxed wines are great for "barbecues and cookouts" and once opened, they last longer than a bottled vintage.

"It's got a plastic bag in there so as you pour it out it shrinks….the thing is it doesn't go bad because oxygen doesn't hit it," Isle added.

"On the Money" airs on CNBC Saturday at 5:30 a.m. ET, or check listings for air times in local markets.

Correction: According to Nielsen sales data, the canned wine category took in $39 million in sales year over year in August. An earlier version misstated the figure.