Going Beyond the Wine Bottle

Wine packaging conference features panel session on kegs and cans plus other content

by Stacy Briscoe
As consumers continue to buy more canned wine and other alternative wine packaging, the industry has been quick to respond. Fenn Valley Vineyards winery in Michigan recently invested in a new canning line, seen here, to launch what it claims are the first Michigan wines under can.

San Rafael, Calif.—Wine on tap and in cans has caught on with consumers and will be the subject of a panel discussion at this year’s Wines & Vines Packaging Conference on Aug. 9. 

Speakers for the session, “Wrap Your Head Around Alternative Packaging,” include the co-founder and CEO of Napa, Calif.-based Free Flow Wines, Jordan Kivelstadt, as well as veteran winemakers Alison Crowe and Nicholas Quillé who have experience putting wines into kegs and cans.

The session will cover the increasing demand for wine on tap, in cans and cartons and how winemakers can ensure wine quality when using alternative packaging.

According to Kivelstadt, there’s been a steady 20% growth, year over year, in the wine-on-tap market, with the most rapid recent growth in Texas, Florida and New York. “As more consumers see and hear about wine on tap, they go in search of it,” wrote Kivelstadt in an email to Wines & Vines. “The consistent temperature and taste make them converts. This, combined with the continued love of draft beer, are helping grow the category.”

In a past article, Wines & Vines reported that most common kegged wines are white varietals such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio. This isn’t necessarily the case any longer.

White wines, as well as rosé, may make up the majority of market during the summer months — around 60% of overall business, according to Kivelstadt. During the winter it’s reversed, with red wines making up about 55% of total business. “As you can imagine, consumption of wine (on tap) is related to weather,” said Kivelstadt.

His advice for wineries interested in distributing kegged wine is to set goals early on by working with wholesale partners and deciding on wines and price points that would be most effective on tap. “Launch in markets that have and understand wine on tap,” said Kivelstadt, “And be ok with selling out of a vintage — just make sure to set the wholesaler’s or account’s expectations ahead of time.”

The Wines & Vines Packaging Conference will take place Aug. 9 at the Lincoln Theater in Yountville, Calif. The conference is intended for winemakers, winery operations personnel, purchasing managers, wine marketers and other industry professionals. Now in its fifth year, the conference is organized by the staff at Wines & Vines to be the essential meeting day for every winery that wants to improve its packaging look and performance.

The complete schedule, speaker line up and registration information is available at wvpack.com.

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