Natural Wine in a Can

Natural WineKevin Kelley of Salinia Wine Company believes strongly in the benefits of native yeast and minimal intervention in the cellar, and if there's a nascent natural wine movement in California, he's certainly part of it. Kelley recently stopped by our San Francisco office to show a pair of wines from his latest project, The Natural Process Alliance, a mouthful of words that's almost forgotten when you see that the wine, well, comes in a can.
   Kelley's inspiration comes in part from the European concept of local bulk wine, where consumers fill their own jugs at the village co–op or neighborhood shop, and a philosophy of maintaining freshness. Instead of glass bottles or jugs, however, Kelley uses reusable stainless steel canisters made by Kleen Kanteen, a company based in Chico, California. At present, the Natural Process Alliance is distributed directly to restaurants in Northern California through a delivery service that exchanges empty canisters for full ones bottled on demand.
   "It's about getting truly fresh wine," says Kelley. Bottling with reusable stainless canisters allows Kelley to avoid using cork and heavy glass bottles, in exchange for a process that he feels gives him greater control in the winery. Kelley's wines — a 2008 pinot gris from the Chalk Hill appellation and an '08 chardonnay from the Sonoma Coast — are vibrant and expressive, with full, rich flavors yet free from the heaviness of oak or overripe sweetness. While his methodology clearly limits the range of the wines (the project isn't designed for large-scale distribution), there's no denying their freshness.
—Wolfgang M. Weber