Wine on tap will help you keep green in your pocket and waste out of trash cans. The mutually beneficial aspect of wine on tap for restaurants and consumers is the cost, which is driven down by a keg.
Not the frat-party beer keg that a college kid might handstand upside down of, but a nice clean keg that is filled with fermented deliciousness.
This newest trend has made its way to New York, San Francisco, and now the Heights in Houston with Vintners Own. This micro-winery is ahead of the pack when it comes to bringing California's wine country grapes and eco-friendly attitude elsewhere.
According to Shannon Paige, sales manager for Vintners Own: "It's a proprietary dispensing system and what we do is we drop off these 4.9-gallon kegs of premium wine that restaurants will then dispense by the glass using a tap system. They can get as elaborate as they like (elegant and clean dispenser, like a beer tap) or go more streamlined (a keg behind the bar)."
Wine by the glass and the tap serving system isn't a new idea, but using a reusable keg with less hassle has amazing benefits.
"The great thing about wine on tap — along with creating custom blends — is the whole eco-friendly aspect of it," Paige says. "What it does is it does away with corks, bottles, and garbage. It cuts way down on storage. Because its driven by an argon gas, the wine doesn't oxidize; so the 100th glass is just as yummy as the first."
Older ways of using a tap system consisted of having the same argon gas system, but with bottles only. But as soon as a bottle is open, it begins to oxidize creating vinegary wine that is wasted.
"If you think about the number of bottles a particular restaurant might have at any given time by the glass, they are going to be moving through a lot of their inventory in waste," Simon Payne, Vintners Own winemaker, said. "Because you might have several half-finished bottles at the end of the night or the end of the week say that have oxidized and become bad wine, so they might be throwing 20-25 percent of their inventory of wine (right) down the drain."
An aspect of the tap system that hasn't been a focus is the person serving wine. Although some wine connoisseurs would like an experienced server, fast-paced restaurants can benefit from this system.
"There is also a time saving factor that is great for a quick moving environment," Payne said. "You can have an inexperience operator that can dispense a glass of wine in a very quick period of time."
Vintners Own is one of the few locations in Houston that has adopted the wine-on-tap-by-keg trend and has capitalized on it. They also offer clients — consisting of restaurants mainly — the chance to blend a specific wine for their restaurant that is housed on location. Restaurants may also request bottled-customized blends with labels as well.
If only one could pull a high-society keg stand off the 4.9-gallon kegs of wine ... Alas, I am told that it is not an option.