How wineries are opening up the market for wine in cans

By Reinhard Watermeyer, Commercial Director of HG Molenaar

Over the past few years, there was tremendous growth in the canned wine category, a trend that was more evident in the US market than in South Africa.

While some wineries use their younger, easy-drinking wines for this category, higher-end, certified wines increasingly use this packaging format. The common denominator for the industry, though, is reflected in the convenience of cans and the creative possibilities of sleeves or labels to capitalize on new brand-building opportunities to expand markets. Recycling is also a contributor to market growth and it is estimated that around 70% of used beverage cans in South Africa are recycled, which is more than glass.

As with any burgeoning market, wineries face a few challenges as they more widely explore offering wine in cans. Some retailers are uncertain about where to merchandise the products within their stores. Do they place them with bottled wine, carton packaged wine, “bag in a box” wine, or with other canned beverages in fridges? Wineries are tackling the challenge by setting up their own displays in-store. They have had particular success when placing these inside fridges, capitalizing heavily on the convenience factor of pick up and go – usually to an outdoor occasion such as a picnic, hike, or event.

Market exploration

Wineries are exploring this young market with increasing vigour because of the many potential benefits. Millennials, for example, embrace visual communication and interaction. Cans and their associated packaging offer a lot of opportunity for appealing design. The convenience of a single serving in packaging that can go anywhere also appeals.

The development of suitable internal lacquer coatings, coupled with creative packaging, now offer wineries many more opportunities to make their product more accessible to new markets.

In 2020, the Michelangelo Wine and Spirits awards introduced the category of wine in cans into their competition.

Canned wine interest

The award-winning South African food and wine writer, Malu Lambert, attended a virtual wine tasting of 20 different canned wines. In her article on, she notes that canned wine has a long history in South Africa and that the change now is a “…shift towards the more premium market. From the outset, it’s very clear from the packaging for whom the cans are intended: young, visually-literate, millennials.”

Future developments

Another benefit of the Wynland Bottelering approach is that they have a true counter-pressure system, which provides the opportunity to can sparkling wines. These have done very well based on feedback from the wine industry. This type of beverage can only be canned using a counter-pressure system in a controlled environment.

With fixed, counter-pressure systems already in use, the next step for the industry as the market grows, would be to invest in higher capacity lines, which we offer.