Bargersville vineyard pairing global canned wine craze with unique Midwestern grapes

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Canned wine has emerged as one of this summer’s trendiest poolside refreshments, selling out at retailers including Trader Joe’s and earning praise from Forbes for being “something wine drinking consumers have been waiting for.”

Mallow Run Winery, a family-owned business in Bargersville approaching its 12th anniversary, is among the only wineries in Indiana to offer the popular product.

“It’s just a fun concept and opens up so many possibilities,” explained Sarah Shadday, the marketing manager for Mallow Run. “With a can, you can enjoy your wine anywhere you normally wouldn’t be able to take glass.”

The idea likely originated on the west coast, she said, and felt like a “natural next step” in their product line expansion after Mallow Run partnered with a local canning company two years ago to package their hard ciders.

“That made sense,” said Shadday. “Cider, a lot of times, is in cans…but then we started thinking, ‘We should can wine!'”

The company moved forward with no hesitation, despite canned wine across all brands charting relatively insignificant sales of $6.4 million in 2014, according to Nielsen data. That figure has since grown to an estimated $28 million.

Racetrack rules prohibiting glass bottles at the Indianapolis 500 further inspired Mallow Run to embrace non-traditional metal containers.

The winery released its inaugural can of vino – a limited edition semi-sweet Traminette – to celebrate the Indy 500’s 100th run and followed up this year with a pair of canned red and white “hybrid” wines.

“They’re already popular because they’re so convenient and portable,” said Shadday. “We also love what’s inside the can… The hybrids all have a slight hint of sweetness to them and showcase the best of both worlds. It’s a cross between European grapes and what we have here at home.”

Mallow Run credits their hometown success to their emphasis on community events and producing local blends made with grapes native to Central Indiana, she explained.

“We don’t have the climate to support the types of grapes they have in California, but we also don’t have any preconceived notions of what wine should be or how it should be packaged,” Shadday told 24-Hour News 8. “That lets us have fun with what we do… and it looks like [Indianapolis] is having tons of fun with our canned wines.”

She recommended “cracking open a cold one” at various outdoor venues including boats, lakes, pools, festivals and barbecues – in addition to races – and added the cans would be easier to balance than a wine glass while doing yard work, folding laundry or enjoying a bath.

“I can think of so many places I would take these!” Shadday exclaimed.

However, she shared a cautionary note about serving size and urged consumers of legal drinking age to enjoy responsibly.

Mallow Run’s smallest can – an 8-ounce “stub can” she said customers often described as “cute” – is the equivalent of more than a glass and a half. A standard wine pour measures a mere 5 ounces and has the alcohol content equivalent of a 12-ounce can of beer or a 1.5-ounce shot of 80-proof liquor.

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