When I told friends I was going for ‘wine on tap’, it was met with a variety of responses, and none of them particularly positive but when you know the benefits, I think you too could be persuaded to give it a try.
The type of responses received ranged from ‘ oh nooooooooo’, which I took to suggest that the person concerned thought I was in for a long night of free-flowing wine; another responded with ‘ nothing good, beverage wise has come out of a tap 😫 ( my grim experiences tell me ) ; and the final one declared that wine on tap ‘would be a dream’.
So this is where I need to put everyone right. Wine on tap is good on so many levels with many benefits from its environmentally friendly credentials to the opportunity to try quality wines by the glass, rather than by the bottle.
There’s so many benefits to wine on tap
Wine on Tap is a distribution method for wine. Instead of distributing via the bottle, wine is housed in stainless steel kegs or disposable one way kegs. After the barrelling stage, the wine is transferred into the kegs holding about 26 bottles of wine each. It is pushed through the keg by gases such as nitrogen or argon, further providing a blanket over the wine and protecting it from oxidation. This is not always necessary. Recent changes in the wine industry made it possible to tap wine from keg by a pump. This means that no nitrogen is needed.
Wine on tap also means cost savings at all levels, from the manufacturer, retailer and consumer. Traditionally, wine retailers have served wine by the glass by opening and resealing individual bottles. With wine on tap, bottle, cork, and carton costs are eliminated. Costs of waste from throwing away oxidized wine are also decreased and fresher unoxidized wine is delivered to the diner. Transport costs are significantly reduced as well, as the same amount of wine weighs significantly more in bottles than in a keg.
So what does this all mean for the diner
You are guaranteed fresh wine from the first glass to the last one in the keg; no oxidation, no corkage, and no spillage means no waste; you get better quality wine for your money, meaning you can effectively try different premium wines by the glass rather than having to drink a whole bottle; and because there’s no pulling of corks, speed of service is quicker although admittedly you would have to be a very thirsty drinker for this to be a particularly strong selling point!
For me though, the biggest selling point for wine on tap, is its green credentials. Kegs offer a 96% reduction in carbon footprint compared to wine poured from bottles over 20 years. Just one steel key saves the CO2 equivalent to that sequestered by 28 trees. Plus, each keg put into service saves 2,340 lbs of trash from the landfill over its lifetime.
Head to Galvin Brasserie
Galvin Brasserie de Luxe, the chic Parisian style brasserie in the heart of Edinburgh, has taken the brave move to bring wine on tap to their diners. With six wines on tap, three red and three white, I had the chance to experience the quality of the wines, as their very knowledgeable sommelier, Damien, explained why they’ve taken this move to offer wine on tap to their diners. Of course there are still bottles on offer too, but it’s about giving their diners more choice.
Damien explained that prosecco can also be served on tap, but they’ve decided not to offer that as prosecco is only legally prosecco when it is bottled, and must otherwise be called ‘sparkling glera’, which doesn’t have quite the same ring or theatre – who doesn’t like to see the cork popped.
Plastic bottles that resemble glass – yes really
We sampled three of Galvin Brasserie’s wines, along with a delicious steak frites. The wines included Viognier ‘Le Paradou’ from Ventoux (£8.50 for 175ml or £32 for 750ml bottle), and Italian Sangiovese from Marche, and Tempranillo Roble, Eterno, Castilla Y Leon.
Damian served them from a green bottle, that felt, looked and had the same weight as a glass bottle, but was in fact high, quality plastic, which could be reused (after being washed by hand) and is therefore kinder to the environment.
Will it catch on?
I think it’s a brave move for Galvin Brasserie de Luxe to offer this but talk to anyone in the industry and they will tell you all the good things about wine on tap, with their being very few negatives.
It might take a while for it to catch on and there will need to be an education process by the industry and the restaurants and bars offering this but next time you are out and about and if wine on tap is on offer, give it a try. You’ll get more ‘bang for your buck’ and the opportunity to try different wines by the glass rather than the whole bottle, therefore increasing your repertoire, and safe in the knowledge that you are doing your little bit to help the environment.
Galvin Brasserie de Luxe
Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian
Edinburgh EH1 2AB
Tel: 0131 222 8988