The Horrifying Trend That is “Wine on Tap”

on 23/01/11 at 10:20 pm

Wine

I was recently asked by my distributor to put Peconic Bay wines into kegs for sale in Manhattan, to accounts you would no doubt recognize, who have embraced this curious new “wine on tap” (WOT) service system.

I never recoil from a sale, but the idea of presenting our wines in this pedestrian manner immediately began to weigh on my sensibilities.  The defense of WOT is so amorphous, and chanted with a religious zeal, while the drawbacks, in my mind seem so genuine to me.  Let me remove the financials from the argument, since profit is relative here.

To the consumer, the whole idea of an “always fresh” wine must seem so appealing. I actually didn’t realize there was a freshness problem. Oh sure, I’ve been to any number of restaurants where the wine had been opened the night before or worse, but that doesn’t seem to be the problem of the conscientious restaurants we are talking about here.

And what could be fresher than a newly opened bottle? If you are concerned at all, ask the server to pour from a new bottle.

This brings us to the waste issue. There’s no waste in a keg — so I am told. Let us consider this, because I have no interest in drinking the wine that sits in the keg lines overnight or the first drop delivered from the tap nozzle where bacteria may grow overnight or even from the first wine passed through just cleaned keg lines.

What are they using to clean them, and what does that do to my glass of wine? Unless you are unwilling to pass a certain quantity of wine through the system to get the perfect first glass, I would call that potentially wasteful. Of course I may not know that I got the wine from the recently bleached keg lines, so I’ll just have to assume that I don’t like this wine.

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