Mixing wine with soda water — and maybe you throw in a piece of fruit — is not a newfangled idea. You may know this recipe as the wine cooler, made famous in the 1980s by brands like California Cooler and Bartles & Jaymes. Their sweet, fizzy, fruity bottles became a nationwide sensation, and, later, a punch line, as “wine cooler” came to be seen as synonymous with lowbrow, saccharine swill.

Well, everything old is new again, especially in the sphere of mass-market alcohol. This time, the industry is calling the wine-and-soda water combo a wine spritzer and putting the drinks in sleek aluminum cans. In many cases, they’re slashing the sugar content and seriously upping the quality of the base wine. Canned wine spritzers are the wine industry’s answer to the hard seltzer craze — and at least a few of them taste very, very good, combining the bubbliness and fruit-juice flavors of a Spindrift with the bitter bite of an Aperol spritz.

Though this new wave of canned wine spritzers has been slowly gaining momentum for a few years, it’s suddenly taking off in a whole new way. These products are part of a larger category that industry analysts refer to as RTD, or ready to drink: prepackaged beverages that have already been mixed for you. Lately, it feels as if I hear of a new RTD release every day, whether it’s Nomadica’s piquette or Ghia’s nonalcoholic spritz or Luxardo’s canned aperitivo cocktails. In the first five months of this year, the RTD wine category grew by 18.4% in value, according to Nielsen, while total wine sales actually decreased by 1.5%.

Looking back, the rise of canned wine spritzers seems preordained. These drinks sit at the intersection of two products that have been trending for years now: canned wine and canned, flavored sparkling water, like La Croix. In fact, Phelps, a Napa winemaker who makes the Space Age Rosé Spritzer, came up with the idea for his Meyer lemon and strawberry-flavored spritzer a few years ago when he found himself on a boat on Lake Tahoe, mixing rosé with La Croix. (By the time he got the product to market, 2½ years later, he says, he realized he hadn’t been the only one with that idea.)

The RTD category’s hottest product right now is hard seltzer. But to some people, like Phelps (and me), hard seltzer tastes gross, like artificial chemicals. “For people who like good wine, what’s the alternative to White Claw?” Phelps asks.

Canned wine spritzers tend to check the same boxes that people look for in hard seltzer, like low alcohol content (most of what I tasted was between 5% and 8% ABV) and light calorie counts (mostly 70-120 calories per 250-ml can). “I should probably thank White Claw,” says Josh Rosenstein, who says he’s seen demand for his 6-year-old Hoxie Spritzer brand grow as hard seltzer has boomed.

And like hard seltzers, this new crew of canned spritzers has managed to be gender-neutral. Just as the highly feminized hard-seltzer prototype Zima yielded to the bro-friendly White Claw, the negative feminine stereotype of wine coolers in the 1980s is now virtually nonexistent. San Francisco’s Usual Wines, which just launched its second canned wine spritzer flavor, has noticed this firsthand. “Our core audience for Usual is predominantly female,” says CEO Matt Dukes, referring to Usual’s main line of non-spritzer wines. “But with the spritz, it’s actually been predominantly male.”

What a product like Hoxie can offer that White Claw can’t, however, is ingredient transparency. While White Claw is derived from industrial malt liquor, Hoxie is made from California Chardonnay. (Its flavor sourcing is bona fide, too, going through Mandy Aftel, the Berkeley perfume maker known for her natural ingredients, for most of its spritzer flavorings.) Rosenstein has even poured his spritzers, which come in flavors like watermelon-hatch chile and grapefruit-elderflower, at natural wine festivals like Brumaire in Oakland.

Now, Rosenstein says, he’ll get calls from restaurants or bars — the sorts of places with high standards for the ingredients they use — that feel they have to stock something that’s hard seltzer-adjacent to please the masses, but want something that’s a little better quality. Hoxie’s spritzers fit the bill. And while there are plenty of bigger companies getting into the canned spritzer game, some of the most notable players are independent, like Space Age, Hoxie and Ramona, which is owned by New York sommelier Jordan Salcito.

There are many reasons to love the current cast of canned wine spritzers. They’re portable. Aluminum is more recyclable than glass. They’re sessionable, meaning you can drink a few of them and you won’t feel the effects that you would from an equivalent volume of wine.

What I also appreciate is that they give us permission to have some fun with wine. Yes, it’s OK to mix wine with soda water. To add flavorings. To drink something not because you care what vineyard it came from or what vintage it is — but just because it’s fruity and fizzy and cold.

Here are some of the best canned wine spritzers I’ve tasted.

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