Sip, Sip, Hooray: Part 3

The Swedish brand packages European-made wine in cans that are decorated by artists from around the world.
The Swedish brand packages European-made wine in cans that are decorated by artists from around the world.


Wine in cans is sure having a moment. And these from Djuce are as dramatic as they get.

Founded in Stockholm, Sweden, this sustainable-wine company just expanded into the United States in Los Angeles and San Diego, and soon to arrive in San Francisco. The cans are decorated with striking, contemporary artwork from artists around the world, and filled with wine from European producers.

Cans were chosen not only because they are lighter and easier to transport, but according to the company, also because they are 28 percent more efficient to recycle and their use cuts CO2 emissions by 79 percent compared to glass.

Currently, Djuce offers 11 wines from seven regions in Europe, all sustainably farmed, certified organic, vegan, and low in sulfites.

The 2021 Meinklang Kontext, a natural orange wine.
The 2021 Meinklang Kontext, a natural orange wine.

I had a chance to sample three of them. Each can is 250ml or roughly 1 cup, which makes for a generous portion for one person or a modest pour for two people to share.

For the 2021 Meinklang Kontext can, Portugal-born graphic artist Carolina Moscoso created a bold tableau of what looks like a wild night with a spilled wine glass, stiletto heel, and crumpled streamers. This natural orange wine from Austria is a blend of Welschriesling, Pinot Gris, and Grüner Veltliner. Amber-salmon in color, it’s lightly fizzy, and tastes of apricot and orange rind.

The 2021 Meinklang Rosa can is decorated with an image from Mexico-born illustrator Ulises Mendicutty’s “Barrio Series” of street portraiture. This pale pink rose is a blend of Zweigelt, Blaufränkisch, and St. Laurent from Austria. This bubbly is crisp and lively with strawberries, raspberries and blood orange.

The 2021 Cirelli Rosso can features an image of a figure on a hilltop against a fantastical horizon. “The Watching” is by United Kingdom graphic illustrator Ashton Springer. The inky purple-garnet wine is made from Italian Montepulciano grapes. The tannins are reminiscent of a Cab Franc, with notes of plum, boysenberries and blueberries.

The cans definitely make a statement — inside and out. They retail for about $10 per can.

Cheers: Love the artwork? You can also enjoy select ones emblazoned on T-shirts and in museum-grade prints sold on the Djuce web site.

Uncle Waithley’s “Vincy” Brew

If you know me, then you know I can’t pass up anything with ginger. So, when I was offered samples of the new Uncle Waithley’s “Vincy” Brew Ginger Beer With A Scotch Bonnet Bite, I simply couldn’t resist.

A Caribbean-inspired ginger beer.
A Caribbean-inspired ginger beer.

The Scotch Bonnet addition did give me momentary pause, as I feared the chili pepper’s heat might overtake everything else. But I needn’t have worried because this drink is not incendiary at all. Instead, the pepper’s subtle sweet, fruity heat actually accentuates the invigorating warmth of the ginger, allowing it to linger longer and stronger.

Made with mineral water, lime juice, and a touch of turmeric for a sunny color, this fizzy, non-alcoholic ginger beer is made by Karl Franz Williams, founder of the Black-owned Harlem company.

A Yale University electrical engineering graduate, Williams went on to work on food science at Pepsi, before eventually deciding to lean into his family’s Caribbean roots to start his ginger beer company in 2021. He named it after his grandfather, Uncle Waithley, who lived on the island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

This ginger beer, sweet with a good gingery taste and a nice warmth on the back of the throat, is fantastic all on its own. But it’s also ideal in cocktails.

A four-pack is about $10, and available at Boisson, the non-alcoholic beverage store in San Francisco. It’s also sold through Amazon.

Cheers: What is the meaning of “Vincy” in the company’s name? It’s not only Williams’ nickname, but it’s a local slang term for people from St. Vincent, the island country in the southern Caribbean.

2018 Smith-Madrone Riesling

Does your TGIF call for binging on Chinese takeout and Netflix?

Then, uncork a bottle of this 2018 Smith-Madrone Riesling ($36), of which I received a sample, to make the evening perfect.

Wine Enthusiast awarded this Riesling 92 points.
Wine Enthusiast awarded this Riesling 92 points.

Juicy, crisp, and lively with acidity, this wine is fragrant with citrus and blossoms, and tastes vividly of lemon and tangerines with a touch of minerality. It’s especially ideal with with any Chinese dish with some heat like kung pao chicken or ma po tofu.

While Smith-Madrone grows several varietals, the winery was founded primarily on Riesling to take advantage of its steep hillsides on Spring Mountain in St. Helena. The Riesling vineyard is partially dry-farmed to concentrate the grape’s flavors.

Only 1,611 cases were made of this Riesling, which received a 92-point rating by Wine Enthusiast. The wine is available at the winery,, and K&L Wine Merchants.

Cheers: Smith-Madrone, which was named “Winery of the Year” in 2014 by The Daily Meal, was profiled in “Behind the Glass” on SommTV. View the fun teaser for it here.

More: Sip, Sip, Hooray: Part 2

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