You know those boxed wines that you put in your refrigerator and use the the little plastic tap to pour straight into your glass? Yes, images of late teens and early 20s college parties — or, adult cheapskates — flood your mind now, don’t they? Well, the best wines certainly are not in those boxes. However, there is a growing trend that takes it to another level: wine kegs.
How would you like to learn, upon walking into a tavern or restaurant, that you can order a glass of Bouchaine Chardonnay or a classic Pinot Grigio on tap? If you’re a wine enthusiast who doesn’t like the idea of wine being in a place where beer and ale are supposed to be, don’t let this trending change fool you. From casual country restaurants that serve alcohol to upscale New York taverns, wine on tap is catching fire here in the United States. Wine on tap has been big in Europe for a long time now. I’ve long said that while we Americans need to give civics and economics lessons to Europeans, we need to learn some cultural lessons from them. And apparently, we are.
There are numerous advantages to putting wine in kegs for distribution . Refillable metal kegs mean that we as a society can save a great deal of money and energy on manufacturing, and recycling, glass wine bottles. We cut down on the waste from those who aren’t so eco-minded. The kegs contain nitrogen, meaning that the wine inside stays as fresh for the very last pour as it was for the very first, which can’t be said for wine being poured from a wine bottle which has sat open all day or for a couple of days once opened in a restaurant. Wine service is faster and friendlier as servers don’t have to uncork the wine (some servers are not that adept at using a corkscrew, and there’s always the possibility of a bad cork shattering). Economically, wine makers who choose to distribute their product in kegs save money on volume, the need to order bottles made, corks, having labels made and printed and attached, and on transportation costs (kegs weigh less than the equivalent volume of wine contained and shipped in in glass bottles). These savings are passed on to you, the enthusiastic wine consumer, in the form of wine keg poured glasses of wine averaging anywhere from $2 to $5 less per glass!
In the U.S. at the time of this writing, it’s still not so easy to find wine kegs because many vintners aren’t yet sold on the tradition-breaking idea. However, that is surely changing steadily.
Where To Go for Wine In Kegs
Restaurants and Taverns around the United States:
Two Urban Licks
Burger and Barrel Wine Pub
Blind Lady Alehouse
Russel House Tavern
Irving Street Kitchen