Weekend Sip: This wine cooler has gone artisanal — and Kanye West is a fan

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The can: Ramona, $20 for a four-pack

The back story: Do you remember when wine coolers were all the rage? You’d have to go back to when Ronald Reagan was president, MTV VIAB, +0.66%  was in its infancy and the New York Mets were the hottest team in baseball. Yes, the ‘80s.

But history has a way of repeating itself. These days, sippers are enjoying a new wave of wine products, including the wine cooler-like, artisanal-minded Ramona.

The brand, which was launched three years ago, is the brainchild of Jordan Salcito, director of wine special projects for Momofuku, David Chang’s family of cutting-edge restaurants. Her idea was to create “a portable beverage that shared my value system,” as in something organic, relatively low in alcohol and, yes, wine-based. Ramona is all that, plus it comes in an assortment of flavors — ruby grapefruit, lemon and the newly-released rosé.

While wine snobs often didn’t take kindly to wine coolers, Salcito argues that there’s nothing inherently wrong with the concept. “The wine coolers of yesteryear had potential,” she says, adding that the issue was just “they were low quality and far too sweet.”

In any case, Ramona has seemingly found its sweet spot. Sales have skyrocketed, increasing by more than 600% in 2018, the brand says. Ramona is now carried in 45 states, plus in countries ranging from Singapore to Sweden. Such celebrities as Rihanna and Kanye West are said to be fans.

What we think about it: We’re fans, too. Ramona finds the smart balance between a good, crisp wine and a sugary soda. With the grapefruit flavor, it also adds a refreshing bitterness. These drinks are tailor-made for warm summer nights.

How to enjoy it: Ramona can be enjoyed straight from the can — with or without a straw. But Salcito says you can also get creative. Try the ruby grapefruit with a shot of tequila and a squeeze of fresh lime, she suggests.

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