Wine on Tap Grows Up

It wasn’t long ago that wine on tap seemed like a radical idea. But no more. There’s hardly a decent restaurant in the Bay Area that doesn’t serve wine on tap.  And, according to Malia Collins of Free Flow Wines wine on tap, which has long been getting the notice of restaurants across the country, is now becoming a part of the initial planning stages for new venues. And while much premium keg wine is found only in California, that and more is changing; the fact is that premium keg wine used to be the domaine of the small, local producer.

Just last week Hess Family Estates announced that their Shirtail Creek Chardonnay is currently available on tap in California and will soon be available in Arizona and Las Vegas (Hess also expects to begin offering Artezin Mendocino Zinfandel in all three markets as well.) Hess notes the efficiency, freshness and environmental advantages of wine on tap:

  • Wine remains as flavorful as the winemaker intended, with the 130th pour as fresh and consistent as the first pour, regardless of how long it takes to fully use the barrel.”
  • Environmental impacts are reduced by eliminating glass and the need to recycle bottles. Packaging, waste and transportation energy impacts compared to the equivalent bottles of wine, are all reduced.”
  • With no corks to pull and no bottles to stock or inventory, [restaurant] staff efficiency increases.”

Heather Sittig, an owner of TOAST Wine Lounge in Oakland, CA agrees. Sittig points out that not only is tap wine environmentally and fiscally sustainable, but consumers are often able to enjoy tap wine at prices that lower than they would be if the cost of bottling, disposal and waste/spillage were factored in. Sittig says:

Wine on tap simply makes good sense for restaurants and consumers.  Tap wine does not go bad, so there is zero product waste and does not use bottles, corks and labels, all of which would be disposed of or recycled at best.

The way a product is packaged matters a lot, environmentally. When you think about it, using heavy, relatively small bottles of wine in a restaurant setting is incredibly wasteful.  When you eliminate the bottle, you not only reduce the amount of glass you use but you reduce the amount of space and energy required to produce and transport it. And in the case of keg storage, the packaging is indefinitely reusable. Now that premium wine can be ha on tap, there’s really no reason not to – and every reason to – choose it next time you see it on the menu.

Stay tuned for my next post: Best Keg Wine Towns in America.

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