Summer Wine – Tetra Paks and Cans

July 14, 2006

I’ve got lots of tasting notes to share in the coming weeks, but with summer reigning supreme in these parts, I want to focus on wines for camping and for the lake. So it’s time to look at wines that come in Tetra-Paks and cans.

Vendange Shiraz (California – $6.49 for a 500ml Tetra-Pak)

Lugging wine bottles into your camping site, cabin or canoe can be a hassle when every ounce of weight counts. Thankfully, there are other options. The Vendange line of wines come in a convenient (and light) 500 ml Tetra-Pak, which works out to roughly three decent glasses of wine per container. Four of these wines are widely available in Manitoba (Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz), and all are from California fruit.

Out of all four of their wines, I found the Shiraz to be the best. In my (seasonally-appropriate) plastic glass, it showed off a dark purple colour, with a slightly jammy nose. In the mouth, it was lighter than I expected, with lots of jammy fruit. But there were some nice hints of pepper and spice on the finish, and I thought it was really tasty for the price. A good choice for a wine to share around the campfire.

Billygoat Hill Chardonnay (Australia – $2.95 for a 250ml can).

The Billygoat Hill line comes in both bottles and cans. The 750ml bottles cost $9.99 each, while 3 cans (250ml each) will set you back $8.85 before taxes. So not only are the cans are a better deal, but they are a lot more convenient for the great outdoors. They are sold (at the MLCC and private stores) individually and in 4-packs.

Packaging aside, how do they taste? I’ve tried the Shiraz and the Merlot, both of which were fine, but the Chardonnay is my favourite. It’s a basic Australian Chardonnay, with lots of big fruit and oak flavours. I’d say it’s around the level of the Bin 65 or the Little Penguin Chardonnay. Nothing special, but tasty enough on a hot day.

When first poured into the glass, it’s almost fizzy and there is a sharp taste and smell – both of which dissipate very quickly. I don’t know if it’s some sort of preservative, or a result of being in a can, but it’s not too nice. Pour it and let it sit for a minute or two. From there, you’ll find a nice, easy-drinking Chardonnay. The nose has lots of tropical fruit and some hints of oak. In the mouth, you find more of the same, with a bit of acidity to make this even more refreshing.

So it’s worth it if you’re looking for something a little different. The small sizes are also convenient for people who don’t want to open a whole bottle, but just want a glass or two at a time.


  1. Hey there – I really enjoy reading your blog! I am with a company called Triggit in San Francisco, and I want to let you know abuot the new platform we are currently developing to help wine enthusiasts find great wine. We are launching a service to help your readers find the wines you write about. I would love if you got back to me so I can give you some more information. My email address is hgifford@triggit.com. Thanks so much! –Hilary Gifford

  2. Re: Wine in a Can. As importer for Barokes Wine in a Can with patented “Vinsafe” technology and award winning wine (www.wineinacan.com), may I respectfully offer that you seek out the Barokes product and enjoy the excellent quality and NO taste transfer. The taste difference between Billygoat Hill cans is significant. Barokes is available in Alberta and thru private retailers in BC. Cheers.

  3. Re: Barokes. That sounds interesting and I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for it next time I’m in Alberta. Thanks for the tip.

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