Friday, April 10, 2009

Wine on Tap? What?

This week Eric Asimov covered the curious topic of wine on tap in his New York Times column. The article entitled, "On Tap? How About Chardonnay or Pinot Noir," threw up many red flags for me as both a beer drinker and a wine drinker.

In the realm of beverage consumers, beer people are pretty open minded. Barrel-aging? Of course, the longer the better! Crazy ingredients? Anything goes! Brettanomyces? Bring on the funk! On tap, or from the bottle, we'll try anything.

Wine people, however, are a little more reserved. It's already difficult enough to convince consumers of the benefits of TetraPacs, screw-caps and bottle-caps. Even with these wine curve balls already out there, I'm a little unsure of how wine on tap will go over with the public.

On the whole, this wine-tap system would have many benefits for restaurants; storage, preservation and inventory rotation are constant issues. However, based upon the cost of putting in such technology, I think it'll be years before they start to show up in large numbers.

For now, beer drinkers can rest easy; it'll be a while before wine drinkers start moving in on our taps.


Unknown said...

I think the hardest part about this would be getting the winery to fill the keg... Other than that, equipment-wise, the only difference between this and a normal draft system is a different serving temp (if they have a wine cellar, keep the kegs down there) and a nitrogen tank and regulator (The regulator can be had for under $100). For bars that already have nitrogen for certain beers (dry stouts, some other British ales)... they may have some of this equipment already.

I just don't know how many wineries you could get to around here to convince to put their wine in a keg...

I have actually thought about getting a nitrogen system, as I could use it for beer, as well as wine... brewing and wine/meadmaking is fun, but bottling is the worst part and filling 24 of them for wine or even more for beer is the best motivator to let something age out longer...

Andrew Lewis said...

I could see this being done maybe in restaurants that sell a lot of a small number of varieties (the house red/white). I'm not at all a wine person, but it seems to me as an outsider that a big part of what wine people like is the variety, history, and scarcity. I have a hard time believing that the producers will be interested in kegging anything they feel will possibly become a sought after vintage. So I doubt this will have any real impact on the wine industry, outside of possibly some cost savings for a few restaurants.