Wine on tap thriving in US

21st December, 2011 by Lucy Shaw

A growing number of US restaurants are starting to serve wine on tap from kegs.

Picture (c) James Estrin – The New York Times/Redux

Daring venues in San Francisco, LA, Las Vegas, Atlanta, New York and Detroit are all in on the act.

The reusable, five-gallon kegs, holding the equivalent of 25 bottles of wine, store the product for more than five months, keeping by-the-glass wines fresher for longer.

Pumped out from the keg, the wine is never exposed to oxygen, making the last glass as fresh as the first, thus creating zero waste.

Leading the wine by the keg charge in New York are Charles Bieler (pictured) and Bruce Schneider, founders of The Gotham Project, which makes a Riesling in keg from the east side of Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes.

Supplying to the Grand Central Oyster Bar in New York City’s Grand Central Terminal, the Red Rooster in Harlam and Terroir Tribeca in Manhattan, the dynamic duo are dedicated to changing the way Americans drink wine.

“We’re not just selling a concept, we’re selling a better glass of wine,” Bieler told the drinks business.

“I wanted to do something locally,” he said. “I was always amazed by the trend of eating local, but when it came to drinking local, people sort of ignored it.”

Now 25 New York restaurants carry Gotham Project Riesling and an equal number outside the state have taken it on.

“We chose Riesling because it’s the wine New York State does best,” admitted Bieler, who is currently working on putting a sparkling wine in keg.

“We want to offer wines that can compete with the best in the world at their price point.”

The flamboyant winemaker, who once traversed the US in a pink Cadillac wearing a pink tuxedo to promote his father’s Provence rosé, thinks wineries and retailers will jump on the keg bandwagon once they see it working in the on-trade.

For more on wine packaging innovations see the January issue of db.

3 Responses to “Wine on tap thriving in US”

  1. Hugh Lander says:

    Wine in kegs has been around in the U.S. since the early 1970s, if not before. Inglenook wine was, and perhaps still is, available in 18 liter bag-in-boxes, as well as 5L, 18L and 56L kegs.

    Clearly he is taking this in a different direction by using locally-produced wine, but I do think it is important to note that this is not a new concept in the least.

  2. Matt Borg says:

    While Inglenook and Gallo did start doing this in the 1970’s what seperates Charles and the others who are doing it today is that thier wines are actually drinkable. Charles has two of the eight wines I serve on tap and I don’t hesitate to recommend any of them, thier passion shines through in thier wines.

    Matt Borgerding
    Wine Director
    Abigail Street
    Cincinnati Ohio

  3. Our research has shown average spoilage per bottle is 7% (unfinished or corked by-the-glass bottles). The economic pressure is pushing businesses to find solutions to reducing profits. Wine on tap supports this as there is less waste.

    We distribute fantastic Italian wines globally in a disposable keg. Business is growing fast!

    Director, VDI Draught Wine Ltd (UK)
    http://www.wineondraught.com

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