Over three hundred canned wines from all over the world flexed their aluminum muscles at the third annual International Canned Wine Competition held July 20-22 in California. Joie Farms of Naramata Bench in the South Okanagan shared top honours, named Best of Show with three other producers.

Wines from seventeen countries, including France, Italy, Spain, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, England and even India, competed with their compatriots from all corners of the United States. 

The gold medal winner, Joie Farms 2020 Tsunami Rosé, was named Best of Show along with Alloy Wine Works for 2020 Hans Gruner, California, Canned Oregon Pinot Noir, Oregon, and Solid Ground Winery for Ria Sparkling Rosé, California.

Noticeable in 2021 was “an explosion of wine-based spritzers and seltzers,” says competition founder and organizer, Allan Green. Judges awarded gold medals to 85 of the 335 wines entered. 

Joie was a triple threat with gold medals awarded for their 2020 Tiny Bubbles, 2020 A Noble Blend, and the 2020 Rosé.

Inspired by an Alscaian blend, winemaker Heidi Noble, choose to produce A Noble Blend from Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Auxerrois and Muscat. Many of the oldest plantings in the Okanagan Valley are Germanic varietals which have proven to be extremely successful in the terroir of the Okanagan Valley. Flats of the 2020 cans are now sold out.

The 2020 Tsunami Rosé was also quick to sell out. This versatile wine perfect for any meal or picnic has a Pinot Noir base, which lends strawberry and cherry flavours and lovely, fresh body. Pinot Meunier adds a blast of raspberry fruit and the skin-contacted Pinot Gris adds a creamy strawberry mid-palate.

Flats of the 2020 Tiny Bubbles can still be ordered directly from the winery. Made from Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc, this fun, fresh wine has a decidedly tropical, tiki-esque vibe with savoury pineapple flavours coming from the ripe Viognier grown in Oliver. The lime-y, fresh gooseberry notes come from the Sauvignon Blanc which was picked early in September to keep this summer-banger at a moderate 11.7% to be enjoyed right out of the can.

Along with the wines, the package design competition showed how creative designers and marketers have become with the new canned wine medium. 

Design awards for individual cans wenr to Lucky Rock Wine Co., California, Vinhos Borges S.A., Portugal, Fourth Wave Wines, Australia, and Ironstone Vineyards, California

The competition judges came from academia, marketing and the wine trade. Judge Randy Schock, winemaker at Handley Cellars, commented on the creativity of the canned wine category and the wanderlust brought on by the Covid pandemic: “the creativity and ingenuity of the canned wine segment brings renewed life and excitement to the party. So much room to create and explore old and new regional culinary and lifestyle expressions makes the idea of travelling and sampling exciting again.”

Plans are already in the works for the fourth annual International Canned Wine Competition, which will be held in July 2022. Competition director Allan Green promises it will be “aluminating!”