The Australian winemaker Franklin Estates Wines is to launch a wine-in-can onto the UK market in mid-August, the company said.

First unveiled at the London International Wine and Spirits Fair in May, the wine, the company claims is packaged in a unique can, which has been coated inside by a spray that creates an impervious membrane.

The membrane and a fill topped with nitrogen isolate the wine from metal taint or oxidation and ensures good condition when the can is
Opened, Franklin claims. Shelf life of the cans is estimated to be at least three years.

"Having solved the canning problems, we then decided to fill with quality wines - equivalent to a 750ml bottle retailing for some £8 in the UK", said Ashley Mote, CEO of Franklin Estates Wines (UK) Ltd.

The company says it expects some resistance from the traditional wine trade, particularly in the short term, but has identified numerous sectors where wine in 250ml cans offers genuine commercial opportunities and benefits.  They include catering companies, especially those handling outdoor, sports and leisure events, airlines, railways, cash and carry and fast-food outlets, golf clubs, yachting marinas, sandwich bars and coffee shops.

The 250ml cans are packed in cases of 24.  There are two wines available - 2002 Chardonnay and 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz blend.  The cans are suitable for retailing as single units or as litre four-packs.

Retail prices are expected to range between £1.99 and £2.35/can or £7.95 to £9.39/four-pack, depending on outlets and volumes.