One tasted at our group just kept going, “Yum. Yum. Yum.” High praise. 

This wine is juicy but without being too tootie-fruitie. It has all the berries – blueberry, blackberry, cherry, boysenberry, raspberry. There is an herbaceous quality to it that give it savory-ness to balance the fruit, as well as an earthy back end that finishes it up with fine tannins and violets. This wine enjoyed carbonic fermentation and was aged in stainless steel.

Carbonic fermentation occurs when instead of destemming or crushing fruit, you put the whole clusters into a tank, add carbon dioxide, and seal the tank real tight for 5-15 days. What happens is that because there is no oxygen, the fruit starts to ferment inside itself, and when the alcohol conversion hits 2% the berries burst open. Simultaneously, the tannins make their way from the skins to the fruit, so when you go to press you extract less color, yielding lighter colored wine and juicy flavors that carry less terroir notes. If you have ever had Beaujolais you have had carbonic wine, and it is a technique that is wildly popular right now with the popularity of chillable reds. 

2020 SANS Carbonic Carignan


Gina and Jake started SANS before you even knew wine could go in a can. Early adopters, they have been making awesome wines in cans, with no additives and no sulfur for over seven years. In that time they have grown from a small canned company to a large one. Easily the biggest brand we have featured with Ownroot, this is what success looks like for young (and underfunded) people starting a brand.

I met Gina at a Women’s Entrepreneur Network meeting in San Francisco in 2017. She and Jake were trying to figure out the next steps to grow their business – did they need a bank loan, and investor, a kickstarter? What was going to help them take this brand to the next level? Since then they have expanded into 34 states, and nailed down a national placement at Whole Foods with their only wine in bottle to date – this carbonic Carignan. They got the call from Whole Foods in 2019 and said yes before they knew where or how they would find the fruit to make the wine. Possibly the only people who got lucky with the fires in 2020, they were able to secure fruit that was under contract with other producers but declined because of the fires. Because they were producing their wine in a carbonic method, they took a chance that this method would prevent smoke taint. The risk paid off and they were able to fulfill the Whole Foods order.

It also bears worth mentioning that they would not have been able to get all that fruit if they did not have impeccable relationships with the growers and farmers in Mendocino County. Mendocino is still largely a handshake growing region, especially at generational vineyards with dry farmed old vine Carignan vines. They don’t suffer fools, and because Jake and Gina are amazing wonderful humans, and already had great relationships with so many growers up there, they were able to pull enough strings to pull this bottling off.

They have recently moved from Napa Valley to Lake County, and Jake is encouraging Gina to quit her day job and go SANS full time. It is terrifying to take the final gamble on yourself and trust that your business can fully support your life. I know that they will get there, and I am bursting with pride for them.

Well hello there.