The moment I first saw a can of Maker Wine, I didn’t know quite what I was looking at. The last time I had wine out of anything but a bottle, it was a warm box of something red that I didn’t quite sip, and which had me spending most of a party, to put it kindly, admiring the bathroom floor tiles.
Maker Wine comes in a can, but I cannot stress this enough: a can is not a box. It is really, really good, premium wine that comes directly from small, independent, locally-sourced wineries.
Maker Wine’s Story
Founded by two Stanford grads, Sarah Hoffman and Kendra Kawala realized that, just like craft brew, there are thousands of these kinds of wineries around California. It’s just that the wine industry hasn’t been conducive to getting those small-batch wines — the ones without backup from a major distributor — in front of the rest of the world.
How Its Changing The Wine Industry For The Better
Maker Wine wants to change a number of things about the wine industry. Their state is home to about a third of the United States’ 11,000 wineries, but only about 10% of winemakers in California are women, and only 16% identify as people of color.
The Maker Wine team scours California for the very best wine they can find. But they’re not just looking for wine producers who use organic and sustainable practices, or who produce a one-of-a-kind product unique to their vineyard (they do). It’s just as important to them to find producers that represent the “underrepresented voices in the wine industry” whose stories are so seldom told in this world.
Partnering in “elbow to elbow” collaboration with the small producers that most inspire them, those are the stories Maker Wine hopes to elevate. After a prospective wine passes their panel of customer and expert palettes (this is the highest-rated canned wine of all time, after all), the Maker team spends months visiting and interviewing their new partner to better tell their story, including on their bright, custom label and the blurb on the back of the can. And that’s the work that’s done before the canning process begins.
When it’s time, they fill up their cans right from the winemaker’s tank.
My Maker Wine Favorites
Each can is about a third of a bottle (a little over a glass and a half) — and in most cases you can get six cans (two bottles), for about $50. It’s a better deal, and you don’t have to worry about what to do with the rest of the bottle if you only want a glass or two. The magic is in the can. They’re cheaper to produce than bottles, and they’re lighter, which means they’re perfect for shipping. That’s a big reason why Maker can afford to run this premium wine business and keep it affordable.
Obviously, I’m a Maker Wine convert. I blame the Can Club, the Maker subscription service that sends me 24 cans (you can choose a 12-can option instead) four times a year. I’ve started to better understand what kind of wine I like, and I find myself sharing little winery stories every time I share a can. My summer favorite’s actually a sparkling rosé, by a winemaker named Chris Christensen. He’s a 4th-gen, multiracial Iowan from a non-drinking family — and he sees rosé as an analogy for his own multiracial identity.
Ok, so maybe that’s a little deep for a weekday, and you just want to close your eyes and sip a glass of wine. Personally, Maker’s my new go-to.