The North Fork leader in alternative wine packaging released its first full line of canned wines Friday.
Bridge Lane Wine, the sister label of Lieb Cellars, expanded its ever-popular travel-friendly offerings to include can versions of all five of the winery’s varieties: a white merlot, unoaked chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, dry rosé and red blend. The rollout comes five months after the winery released a test batch of 1,100 cans of rosé, which sold out in two weeks over the summer.
“There’s a real practical benefit to cans,” said Lieb Cellars’ general manager Ami Opisso. “They’re lightweight, portable and can be chilled easily. They are perfect for the North Fork. You can bring it on the boat or to the beach in a cooler without worrying about glass or a corkscrew. They make sense for the type of lifestyle a lot of people out here lead.”
Lieb Cellars began producing wine in alternative packaging under its Bridge Lane label in 2014 when it became the first New York winery to release 3 liter box wine and 20 liter disposable keg wine in addition to regular bottles. The first year, the winery sold 900 boxes of wine. It sold 10,000 in 2017.
And the cans are projected to be even more popular.
Bridge Lane produced 39,000 cans this time around, mostly rosé since the winery can’t seem to keep that variety in stock in any package. Half has already been sold to distributors and restaurants, leaving the rest available for purchase in the tasting room.
“This is only the first batch,” said Opisso. “We do have the ability to do another batch later on in the year if we need to and our expectation is we’re going to have to.”
The wines are made from sustainably farmed grapes grown at Lieb Cellars and other local vineyards and are canned at Premium Wine Group — the Mattituck custom crush facility owned by Lieb’s parent company. It’s canned by Anvil Craft Services.
The unorthodox container doesn’t undermine the quality. It’s actually a plus, Opisso insisted. She said the 100 percent recyclable aluminum cans preserve the wine better than bottles since light can’t penetrate the container. The 375 ml cans are equal to a half bottle of wine or two hearty pours and are guaranteed to stay fresh for a year.
“Our winemaker wants everyone to taste the wine they way he intends it, we would never put the wine in a package that compromises the integrity of the wine,” said Opisso. “We have been testing it since August to ensure the quality of all five varieties before we made this investment.”
The canned releases are available for $9 each or $34 for a four pack in the tasting room and at bridgelanewine.com. The four packs can be mixed and matched.