We Tried 13 Bottles of Sangria — And No One Will Know the Winner Isn’t Homemade

updated Jun 28, 2024
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diptych of red and white bottled sangria
Credit: Mackenzie Filson

In college, my one party trick was making seemingly bottomless pitchers of red sangria appear at just the right time. My standard recipe — two bottles of $3 Chuck, half a bottle of sparkling pomegranate juice, and sliced apples and oranges (all for under $10 at Trader Joe’s) — was, admittedly, also very college, but a hit nonetheless. Since then, I’ve upgraded my bar cart with ingredients to make this traditional sangria recipe that gets a bit of fizz from San Pellegrino. 

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

When I don’t want to cart home all the disparate parts to even make a classic red sangria, let alone riff on a white wine sangria, I reach for a bottle (or can) of the pre-made stuff. You might be wondering: Can they really be all that good? Well, actually, yeah! 

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

I tasted 13 bottled sangrias you can find right at the grocery store (or wine shops if you live in a state where grocers are legally prohibited to carry them). Classic red sangrias are more consistently available, but I did find a few white wine sangrias sprinkled in the mix. I included a mix of national name brands and retailers’ own store brands. 

After several days (and rounds!) of tasting, these are the three — two red and one white — I’d happily buy again.

The Best Bottled Sangrias

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

Best Red Sangria: Rancho Alto Sangria 

Rancho Alto Sangria is the clear winner. It was the one I most wanted to take more sips of. Yes, it can be that simple! 

Many of the other bottled sangrias were a bit too cloyingly sweet and lacked that distinctly tannic wine taste I seek out in a good homemade sangria. This makes a whole lot of sense, as it was the only bottle I tried that is technically “red wine” and not merely “grape wine.” (Red and white wine are only allowed certain additives, whereas the guidelines for “grape wine” are less stringent. As a result, grape wine, to me, tastes like a juice-diluted wine.)

In fact, the Rancho Alto Sangria more than delivered a solid amount of  tannic heft, a floral backbone, and a smooth, caramelly finish. You really could serve it straight-up over ice and call it a day — and if anyone guesses it came from a bottle, I owe you a soda. 

Buy: Rancho Alto Sangria, $11.99 for 1.5 liter at Kroger

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

Runner-Up: House Wine Red Sangria Wine Cocktail 

Similar to the Rancho Alto Sangria, the conveniently canned and pool-ready House Wine Red Sangria was one I kept going back to for further tasting. Unlike the others, the House Wine is carbonated which immediately brought me back to my college sangria plus my current favorite bubbly sangria recipe.

It’s just sweet enough (in a bright, fruity way, not a cloying, candy-coated way) and still slightly tannic, with a peppy, tart brightness I think would pair very well with a picnic. I’m going to keep several of these puppies on hand for wherever the summer takes me — hopefully sunbathing on many beach towels near bodies of water. 

Buy: House Wine Red Sangria Wine Cocktail, $4.99 for 355 mL at Total Wine

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

Best White Sangria: Lolea No 2 Clarea White Frizzante Sangria

By and large, I do believe a cute bottle does beget a delicious wine. Don’t believe my theory? The Lolea No 2 Clarea White Frizzante Sangria is all the proof you’ll need, with its label and bottle both saying, “Ummm, shall we book a trip to BARTHELONA?” The insides also match!

Peachy, lightly sweet, with tiny bubbles, this sparkling white wine sangria had a complexity I was not expecting right out of the bottle. The floral vanilla flavor plays nicely off the peachy, jammy quality. Immediately I filed this sangria solidly under my “Wines to Drink on Any Porch/Stoop/Patio” and I think you should, too.

Buy: Lolea No 2 Clarea White Frizzante Sangria, $14.99 for 750 mL at Total Wine

How I Tested the Bottled Sangrias

  • Complexity: Does the tannic nature, body, sweetness, and alcohol level match what you’d find in a freshly homemade or restaurant-quality sangria? 
  • Depth of flavor: Does it taste too sweet, less wine-y/more juice-adjacent, or too artificially flavored in any way? If this was poured into a glass, would anyone be able to tell it came from a bottle? “No, and no.” Then, it moves on to the finals. 
  • Drinkability: Overall, did I want to keep drinking it? It can sometimes be as simple as that. For me, I love a sangria that’s fun to drink — a bit fruity, lightly sweet, and perhaps even surprisingly complex. Basically bottling that “Oooh, what IS that?” feeling. 

Did your favorite bottled sangria make the list? Tell us about it in the comments below.