The New Wine "Bottles"

From cans to forties, these new-school wine vessels prove it's not just a bottle's game anymore.

Related To:

Beyond the Bottle

The days of grabbing a bottle off the $12-and-under table are gone; choosing a wine just got a little more complicated. Now you can consider buying a keg of wine to bring to a party, or a giant box (it's classy now), or vino in cans. Just when you thought you’d come to terms with screw-top wine (common and reputable nowadays), vino packaging has undergone yet another makeover. Meet the newcomers.


Photo: Isaac74/iStock

The Can

Cans of wine, particularly Underwood's typography-driven quartet of offerings, are ubiquitous this summer. But Kimberly Prokoshyn, head sommelier of New York City restaurant Rebelle, loves Fiction, from Field Recordings, "a juicy red wine in a can" that would be ideal, she says, for a barbecue.


Photo by David Reamer

The Keg 

"There are a number of good arguments for kegs," says Liz Martinez, sommelier at Chicago's The Purple Pig. "[They] protect the product, providing the guest with a pristine wine to enjoy. Kegs are easy to transport, and easy to store. Lastly, and clearly not the least, is their ability to lower the carbon footprint." During grilling season, Martinez likes Bieler Pere et Fils rosé, "a lovely little wine from Coteaux d'Aix en Provence in southern France."

The Big Box

"Boxed" wine is more often than not bagged wine, with the bag hidden inside the box. (Industry insiders call this "bag-in-box," or "BIB" for short.) Prokoshyn is partial to the eye-catching five-liter box of Verez Cuvée des Dames, "a classic Provence rosé."

The Bottle-Sized Box

Five liters sound daunting? Not to worry: There are plenty of "regular-sized" 750-milliliter boxed wines on the market. Carlin Karr, beverage director of Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, loves the offerings from Fuoristrada vintner Michael Schmelzer, particularly his Sicilian Grillo and bright Tuscan Sangiovese. "Think of them like adult juice boxes!" enthuses Karr. "They are super-affordable [and] perfect for the beach, a hike or anywhere that doesn't allow glass containers."


Photo by Matthew Ankeny

The Small Box

Few actions feel more illicit than tucking a tiny box of wine into your purse or pocket, and several companies on the market are happy to make this entirely too easy. Bandit, whose slogan is "good to go wine," is among them, with wines in a variety of box sizes including the itty-bitty 250-milliliter variety — which may just make you feel like a giant as you sip them.

Single-Serve Stemmed Glasses

Zipz, whose brainchild is a sealed, single-serving glass of wine in a stemmed plastic wine "glass," reportedly landed millions of dollars of funding on the TV show Shark Tank. It's quite likely that you'll be seeing these glasses at a ballpark near you someday very soon.


Photo by The NYC Talon

Single-Serve Stemless Glasses

Fans of stemless wine glasses (ahem, fellow klutzes) might rejoice to see Stack Wine's four-pack of sippy-cup-style vessels. Seems like a pretty solid option for a tailgate with wine lovers.

Mini Single-Serving Bottles

It's hard not to be charmed by a tiny bottle of bubbly, which is becoming more popular as a wedding favor. If you're splurging, a teeny-tiny Moot & Chandon rosé mini is tough to beat, cuteness-wise.


Photo by Joy Jacobs

A Forty! Of Wine!

You've likely seen half bottles (375 milliliters) of wine and "regular" bottles (750 milliliters), in addition to the solid-value liter bottle and the high-rolling 1.5 milliliter magnum bottle. But two sommeliers we spoke to recommended Julien Braud's 40-ounce bottle of Muscadet. Bryn Birkhahn, head sommelier of New York City's Pearl & Ash, pronounces it "the perfect fresh, dry summer white for a picnic when one bottle may not be quite enough, but you don't want to go overboard."


Photo by Michele Ouellet

More from:

Ultimate Wine Guide