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Old Westminster Winery begins canning wine

Old Westminster Winery became the first winery in the state to put its wine in cans this week.

The winery canned 500 cases of wine (12,000 cans) Thursday at its Westminster farm in an effort to provide more convenient packaging for oenophiles on-the-go.

“The advantages of canned wine is that they’re lifestyle-friendly. So they’re not necessarily better than a cork and a bottle and stemware, but it’s situational,” said Ashli Johnson, a partner in the family-owned winery. “So when you’re headed out on a hike or by the pool or at the beach, anywhere near the water, the cans give you the ability to have them travel with you and have them in a more casual atmosphere.”

Drew Baker, Johnson’s brother and another co-owner, said cans are not intended to replace Old Westminster’s corked bottles. But they are meant to show that different packaging does not diminish the wine’s quality.

“There is the idea that alternative packaging makes it cheap,” Baker said. “We’re challenging that notion.”

Three varieties will be available in cans from Old Westminster: Farmer Fizz (sparkling chardonnay), Seeds & Skins (pinot grigio) and Carbonic (cabernet franc). All three are made from grapes grown in Maryland, unfiltered and naturally fermented with wild yeast.

“We wanted to can wines that we would want to drink,” Baker said.

River City Cannery, an Elkridge-based mobile canning business, canned the wines for Old Westminster.

While Old Westminster Winery is the first traditional grape winery in Maryland to can its products, Charm City Meadworks, a Baltimore-based meadery, has also been canning its honey wine for several years.

Old Westminster plans to can more wines in the spring if the pilot is successful, Baker said.

“We’re hopeful we can use this to have the conversation and change people’s minds and then grow,” Baker said.

Each 375-milliliter can — equivalent to half a standard 750-milliliter bottle of wine — will retail for $9.99. The cans will be sold individually and in four-packs. Customers can order the cans from Old Westminster’s website.

The winery will also host a launch party for the cans at Parts and Labor in Remington from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 12.

This story has been updated.

smeehan@baltsun.com

twitter.com/sarahvmeehan

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