Inside Nomadica’s Quest to Make Really Good Orange Wine

The California wine company has made a drink ideal for fall — and it's in a can

November 6, 2023 8:06 am
Nomadica Orange Wine in a can and in a glass
Nomadica Orange Wine, new and great for all seasons

What we’re drinking: Canned wines from Nomadica, including a new canned orange wine

Where they’re from: The California-based brand sources grapes from sustainable farmers around the West Coast.

Why we’re drinking these: Once upon a time, canned wines were cloying, overly sweet and not particularly great — anyone who popped the top of canned wine in the early aughts can vouch. But we’re a couple of years into canned wine’s renaissance, and good things are increasingly coming in small packages. 

Kristin Olszewski always believed in the category. The sommelier and founder of Nomadica started releasing high-quality slim tins of great California wine around the time hard seltzers started hitting the market. White Claw? Why don’t you try a well-chilled colombard spritz?

So she launched an all-canned line of wines — quenchable, single-servings for less formal occasions. Since launching in 2020, her portfolio has expanded. There’s a core line of Nomadica cans that are always available — red, white, sparkling and a rosé or two — alongside quirkier seasonal releases, including a “cheeky” red, a “sauvy b” sauvignon blanc spritz and an easy piquette

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The red is made with 100% Teroldego, a silky Italian variety found in the Alpine hills of Alto Adige. Her white blend is chardonnay spiked with French colombard, a wee white grape usually used for brandy. The (brand new!) orange wine is a blend of chardonnay, grüner veltliner and albariño. Few are grapes the average drinker would eyeball and order off a menu, but when introduced in an approachable format (re: cans), it’s easy to fall in love. 

That’s in part because of 2023’s technology. Innovations in canning lines have made it easier than ever to package wine in a way that allows it to be canned, shipped, warmed, cooled and then cracked without faulting or ruining the wine. Today’s drinkers are cool with it, mainly because canned wines fit every occasion. If I’m sitting in the park with pals, I grab a few cans from my fridge. (Though one can equals a third of a bottle— sipping a few in the sun will sneak up on you.) Hitting a pool? Cans! Going to a party and I don’t want to stay the duration of a bottle, nor do I know anyone enough to share? Canned wine! “Alternative packaging — like boxes and cans — are breaking peoples’ brains,” Olszewski says. “But it’s bringing consumers into the world of wine, which is helping everyone.”

Nomadica Sparkling White being poured into a short glass in the forest
Nomadica Sparkling White

How they taste: 

  • Orange: Made with a blend of chardonnay, gruner veltliner and albariño, it’s salty and crunchy with notes of apricot mixed with tarragon, chamomile and pineapple. There’s a little bit of a skin contact’s signature funk, but it’s overall super clean with a savory structure and juicy minerality. 
  • Sparkling White: High carbonation, no tinny taste and notes of bright kiwi, nectarine and saline minerality. It’s mainly colombard blended with malvasia and chardonnay. 
  • Red: Nomadica’s teroldego-centric red is full of red berries, underlined by thyme, lavender and boosted by alpine freshness. On warmer days, keep it chilled — it’ll bring out the fruitier notes of the wine.

Fun fact: Olszewski’s wines are naturally minded, which you’d think would be a hindrance because canned wines are meant to sit on shelves and natural wines tend to be more wild in style. But she finds that natural wines react better with the metal construct of cans, so you don’t get that tinny, metallic taste. 

Where to buy: Direct from Nomadica, it’s $110 for 12 cans (which equals four bottles), and subscriptions are available with discount pricing.


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