Will wine snobs ever drink from cans?

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Bottles, Bottle

Australia's Gowrie Mountain Estate is preparing to release wine in
cans to the US, UK and Japan - not a new concept, but one that is
still deemed to be unusual.

Australia's Gowrie Mountain Estate is preparing to release wine in cans to the US, UK and Japan - not a new concept, but nevertheless one that is still deemed to be unusual.

The cans will be launched at the London Wine and Spirit Show later this year after a two year development programme. The technical challenge was to produce a 250ml aluminium can with a specially developed lining that would not affect the quality of the wine.

While there are many practical benefits to the idea - no spoilage, no need for bottle-openers, no need to finish a bottle - its success depends on good weather, and consumers being prepared accept the iconoclastic notion of wine in ring-pull cans.

With a fine scorn for the condescending attitudes of wine snobs' to its country's offerings, the Australian wine maker is preparing to launch the wine in key consumption markets before it considers expanding into other lesser markets.

While many observers would conclude that this was a natural and unsurprising state of affairs and decide to leave well alone, the entrepreneurs behind Gowrie Mountain Estate wines see a yawning gap in the market and have moved to fill it.

For Gowrie, the biggest selling point is the issue of convenience. In the home, cans are considered to be a definite no-no, but outside the home - on a picnic, at an outdoor concert or even a football game, bottles are considerably less practical. Bottles may break in transit, there may be more people wishing to drink, and they cannot be bought on impulse as a bottle opener is required. Cans suffer from none of these problems.

In Australia, where 'bring your own' restaurants are common, and the weather is sunnier for longer, latent demand for 'on-the-move' wine is likely to be quite high. In the UK, where summers are shorter, cooler and more unpredictable and 'bring your own' is a much rarer phenomenon, the chances of success are considered to be significantly reduced.

But the major barrier is simply an instinctive negative reaction to the concept of wine in cans. As with cardboard cartons and plastic bottles, the perception, based solely on the packaging, may be that the wine is bound to be of poor quality. However, if wine drinkers can overcome their preconceived notions that wine has to come out of bottles, then there is nothing to stop Gowrie's offering taking off.

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