Photos courtesy of Blossom Brothers
Oregon Wine Coolers Making a Scene
by Hannah Kivi

Wine coolers: the ready-to-drink, refreshing, versatile beverage companion (not to be confused with a wine fridge). Dress up the sparkling libation for a spritzer with dinner, or dress it down to relax by the fire. These approachable wines are taking Oregon by storm in the form of cans and single-serve bottles. The wine beverage hits a niche market that can easily cozy up with beer and cider in your summer cooler.

Traditional wine will forever reign, but for the time being, kick the classics to the curb and pop the top off one of these wine coolers handcrafted by Oregon wineries.

Blossom Brothers | Portland | This Portland-based producer relies on only four ingredients for their wine spritzers: Columbia Valley wine, water, carbonation and natural infusions. Aromatic, botanical infusions of jasmine flower, ginger root and grapefruit are hand-chosen to enhance the inherent notes of citrus and floral in the Pacific Northwest-sourced wine. The final beverage clocks in at only 6 percent ABV — nearly half of traditional wine — so feel free to go for a second round.

Hi-Wheel Wines | Portland | Hi-Wheels pushes the boundaries of wine. Their Fizzy Wines don’t contain grapes, but rather create citrus-based wines. They also ferment all other fruit under the sun: berries, cherries, peaches and pomegranates. And they don’t shy away from playing with other ingredients like peppercorns, basil and coffee. These fruit wines play nice with beer and other spirits to make a daytime radler or sangria.

Union Wine Co. | Tualatin | Though technically not a cooler, but accessible by single-serving like the rest of the lot, Union Wine’s Underwood lineup flaunts an impressive variety of aluminum-contained wines — some of which include the Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Rosé. But it’s the The Bubbles and Rosé Bubbles you need to get your hands on. The Bubbles demonstrates notes of ripe citrus and tropical flowers, while the Rosé Bubbles bares effervescent flavors of wild strawberry and tart cherry. “Pinkies down” for these cans, they are sleek in design and ready to travel.

Portland Sangria | Portland | As with a lot of great beginnings, the Portland Sangria began as an accident. Winemaker Ryan Sharp sat on at least 10 cases worth of rosé, and no bottles left to fill. Sharp kegged the remaining wine with fresh berry juice and tapped it at the tasting lounge. His take on the Sangria instantly came to be a hit. Now, Portland Sangria recreates the all-time classic cocktail with varieties like Raspberry Loganberry Cardamom Rosé, or the white wine-based Lemon Ginger Rosemary and Blueberry Basil. And with a 6.5 percent ABV, these cans are crushable.

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