Tap That Glass!

Serving wine from a bottle seems so passé these days, especially when there are more conventional ways to pour it.

Just think of how much more productive you’d be at work if you had one of these…

Unfortunately, this nifty makeshift wine dispenser was not what I was alluding to. Actually, have you noticed that more and more restaurants and bars are offering select wines on tap now? Wine on tap?? I know, no side eyes please. It may not be the traditional way you’re used to, but it’s becoming a thing. Intrigued, I decided to tap into this growing trend.

New School: Wine on Tap

Instead of distributing via a bottle, wine is housed in stainless steel kegs or disposable one way kegs. Wineries will fill a keg, approximately 26.6 bottles of wine, or 120 glasses, with the same quality of wine that they use for their bottled wine, and then transport it to the restaurant. Upon receiving a keg, a restaurant will store the keg in a cool environment, similar to bottled wine, and wait until it is needed. Then, the keg is ‘tapped’ much in the same way a keg of beer is tapped.

There is still a stigma lingering from a bad boxed wine experience decades ago, and sometimes people assume that wine on tap means a lesser quality wine. This is not the case at all, with more wineries making as much of their wine available on tap as possible. Secondly, the wine has to be fresh. That means it must be treated correctly to avoid over-oxidization or over-heating. Kegged wine actually makes this a lot easier, as the wine never touches air or gas until it is about to be served to a customer, and a keg is less susceptible to variations in temperature. Wine on tap eliminates bottles left sitting around already open, or being stored incorrectly.

Here are a couple of restaurant and bars around the city that offer wine on tap: Oporto Fooding House and Wine, Brasil Café, Max’s Wine Dive, Siphon Coffee, Harold’s Restaurant & Tap Room.

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Oporto’s ‘On Tap’ menu. The Rosé was really good!

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The tap dispenser at Harold’s Restaurant & Tap Room. You can’t really see, but the wines are labeled for the server.

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The Wine on Tap menu at Harold’s in the Heights.

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So, check this out! Harold’s has this really awesome flight deal for their wines on tap. Two ounce flights – Choose any four whites ($11), Choose any four reds ($15), Combination of four reds and whites ($13).

Next Level: The Wine Vending Machine

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I now know why the caged wine sings! Meet the Enomatic Wine Dispensing Machine. There are only around five of these bad boys in Houston!

So, there’s this amazing wine vending machine called the Enomatic Wine Dispenser System that taking serving wine to a whole new level. Made and sold from Italy, these machines are far and few between when it comes to locating them. Apparently, there are around five in Houston. Oh, and these machines aren’t cheap! These automated machines can range from $10,000 to over $100,000, plus the cost of maintenance. So, it’s quite an investment for those that choose to purchase one. By using state-of-the-art argon gas preservation, the automated system prevents wine from being altered by oxygen and protects the integrity of its natural properties (taste, aroma, body, and color) for 30 days or more.

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Crisp has a self-serve machine at its Houston location. Their loyalty program allows customers to put money on a card to purchase wine during their visit.

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Here’s how it works: Insert your card.

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You can choose from 1, 3, and 5 oz. pours.

Here are a couple of restaurant and bars around the city with the Enomatic Wine Dispensing Machines: Crisp Houston, Cork & Tap, 3rd Floor, Gage Lounge.

Man vs. Machine

So, what do you think? Are you team traditional pour or team wine on tap? Let’s talk about it!

 

 

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