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Wine not? New canned rosé breaks French drinking taboo

Cans of beer are 10 a penny, and you can buy cider and even G&T in ring-pulls, but a wine giant has broken a taboo by selling canned rosé.

The 25cl Moncigale Méd­iter­ranée Rosé cans, aimed initially at young UK and US buyers, will also be sold in supermarkets and festival bars here. Moncigale sales director Franck Bourguignon told Connexion: “It is exactly the same rosé IGP Méditerranée wine, loaded with fruit, which you buy in a bottle. We decided to aim at a quality product, using the best of modern technology to profit from advances made in making cans which can hold wine.”

It is a major step for the company, which was founded in 1921 and is part of giant Marie Brizard, which also has French No 1 whisky William Peel, No 2 vodka Sobieski and market-leading Fruits and Wine aromatised wines.

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Can vs glass

Mr Bourguignon said there was an “astounding difference” between swigging wine from the can and opening it and pouring the wine into a glass. “We know it is exactly the same wine, but it comes across completely differently. Part is obviously that you get more aromas from the glass, but another big factor we were not expecting is how much the wine warms as it is poured from the can into a glass."

“So when you drink from the can, you get a much colder liquid that plays on a different set of taste buds. Both are really nice to drink but very different.” Buyers liked cans for the smaller content, with young people not wanting to buy a full bottle and leave some. They also liked breaking the taboo with cans and saw them as more ecological than glass, being fully recyclable and weighing less.

Moncigale receives wine from around 300 winemakers and co-operatives and is in partnership with a young firm which patented a method of making cans adapted for wines. “The cans are of very thin aluminium with a special coating baked on to cope with the wine’s acidity and to make sure the packaging is absolutely neutral and does not affect the taste. They also have a bit of nitrogen added to make sure the wine does not oxidise and that also gives a bit of a ‘psscht’ noise when the can is opened.”

Read more: Jonathan Hesford on why enthusiasm should be valued over expertise when it comes to wine tasting

Canned wine embraced in other countries

This meant a new packaging line at Moncigale’s headquarters in Beau­caire in Gard. It now has nine sites: one for cans, four for glass, three for wine boxes and one for simple bags. Canned wine has long been sold in the US, but lower quality and cheaper. Cans were popular for “alcopop” flavoured drinks in the UK but were heavily taxed in the 1990s over fears that they corrupted young people.

Mr Bourguig­non said: “It is a growing market and we want to make sure we are part of it. There is already a level of acceptance of cans and we are confident we will grow the market.” French people prefer bottled wine but he said “there is more and more bag-in-box sold, including good quality wines, so the consumer is not as stick in the mud as you might think.” Other firms have already asked the firm to use its canning line for their wines and Moncigale may also can red, white and aromatised wines.

Read more: new plastic-eating enzyme ‘revolutionises recycling’

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