It’s only fair

Just in case you may have missed it, it’s fair time!

County fairs abound this time of the year — as you well know — and the excitement and expectations grow exponentially with each passing day. Who will qualify to go to the State Fair? What’s your 4-H project? And suddenly you’re strolling the fair grounds and immersed in the sights, sounds and smells of the event.

Fairs bring us together. We gather as friends and neighbors. Parents shepherd their children. Grandparents are beaming as they follow their grandchildren around the grounds. We mingle with strangers and a fair truly embodies the idea of a Great Minnesota Get Together.

While meandering through the Lincoln County Fairgrounds, I was engrossed in my youthful memories of the fair. A walk through the 4-H Exhibit Hall revved up memories of working on our booth and bringing projects into the building.

The animal barn allowed me to once again “see” my Grand Champion chickens. People jokingly (I think!) told me I received the big ribbon because I was too young to attend the State Fair. Too young? Walking the barn, I saw where my blue ribbon rabbits were held and I was reminded me how much I enjoyed those little bits of fur.

The fair introduced me to serving food as I worked my shifts at the 4-H canteen. Now there’s an activity I still use today.

Great memories and I think it’s fair to say the fair was a mind expanding time for an introverted little farm boy, and over the years, I’ve raised a glass or two of wine to my county fair experiences.

Hmmm … a glass or two? How about raising a can or two of wine?

Yes, a can of wine. Over the past couple of years, the wine industry has been slowly adapting to include cans of wine in its portfolio of offerings and the public is responding big time.

Less than three years ago, sales of canned wines were a miniscule portion of overall wine sales in this country. That changed with two major shifts in expectations by an emerging population.

The millennial generation — those born between the early 1980s and the late 1990s — are flexing their collective muscles when it comes to wine purchases and consumption.

First of all, they are not necessarily into a sommelier’s tasting experience when they want to have a glass of wine. When having a night out or in any social gathering, they want to just simply enjoy themselves and not get caught up in whether a wine has the appropriate aroma or taste. If they like it, they drink it.

Secondly, their expectations of a wine experience doesn’t always take place in a restaurant or a backyard setting. They like their wine on a hike in the wilderness or after pedaling themselves to a special outdoor site. Nothing fancy needed here — just let me have a comfortable wine and canned wines have exploded in popularity.

Having a wine in a can allows one to take the wine with them no matter the time of the year. Canned wine is usually put into cans that contain between 250 and 500 milliliters of the beverage. A normal bottle of wine has 750 milliliters so the convenience of taking a smaller amount of wine on your venture is very satisfying.

Additionally, cans don’t break like a glass bottle will break. The can is readily recycled and the overall wine in a can experience fits the mindset and lifestyle of this generation. It’s not always easy to find wine in a can but the industry is producing more and more of the product and you will soon be able to have your wine in a can.

Ava Grace Rosé is a good place to start with your canned wine adventure.

Besides having a very cool pink decorated can, the wine’s strawberry and rhubarb taste is very nice. There’s a tartness that helps solve your thirst and the sweetness of the strawberry is a natural finish.

Ava Grace also has a Pinot Grigio that is a bit different from other similar wines. The taste is light pear and then has a bit of minerality in its finish.

Another canned wine to try is Cupcake’s Sauvignon Blanc. It comes in a 350 milliliter sized can and has a nice apple taste and aroma.

Speaking of aroma — that’s one part of the wine tasting experience that is a bit lacking when one sips from a can. The can doesn’t allow the wine’s aroma to flourish but if you just hiked five miles and the beauty of the outdoors is pleasing enough, who needs the aroma. It’s a fair exchange.

I expect that like my walk through the fairgrounds that produced a bunch of good memories, one day we’ll have a discussion of where you tasted your first can of Malbec and it just might not be in a restaurant.

Next week, when too much is too much.

As always, eat and drink in moderation but laugh with reckless abandon!

Cheers!

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