The Truth About Wine On Tap

By Brian Lemay No comments


What wine on tap means for the service environment is an elimination of a lot of waste, a cost saving vis
à
vis the equivalent product in the bottle, the peace of mind that comes with knowing the product will be presented to the customer in its ideal condition. The first restaurant in London that we put wine on tap into was Rex & Mariano, which is part of a very innovative group which run Burger and Lobster and Goodman steakhouses. The wines that are typically served through the wine on tap mechanism are these vibrant, fruity, delicious, full of life wines that are uplifting to taste. This is the absolute best format in which to present them. If I could destroy one myth about wine on tap and wine from Petainer kegs, it would be the idea that if wine comes from a draft tap, it has to be low quality. Nothing could be further from the truth. Avenue Restaurant is a bit of a Manhattan meets Mayfair. It’s an American style restaurant, but we do everything from burgers to foie gras. At Avenue we’re very wine focused. We have a very large wine cellar. We’ve got an enormous champagne chandelier. Wine on tap kind of fits in with us trying to do something a little bit different, to be innovative. Some people are really interested. They want to see how it works. We bring them behind the bar. I’m very keen to show them, open up the unit. They can see what the kegs look like. Other people are just happy that they’re getting a very high quality wine at a good price. We’re not throwing away so many bottles. It’s one recyclable keg. Our customer is the on
trade establishment, the restaurant or the wine bar or the hotel or the casino. For the people working in that environment, there are a number of challenges that they face on a day to day basis. Wine on tap is an incredible way to actually eliminate so many of those things. Blacklock is a chop house, and we’re right in the heart of Soho. We do a few simple things, and we do them well. We use 100 percent wine on tap. Logistically it’s a dream. I think there is an argument for wine on tap instead of bottles in restaurants. For us it’s easy on a number of different levels. Stock taking is a dream. We just simply take out the kegs and weigh them. Ordering, again, you’re talking ordering in units less than 5 instead of talking 30, 40 bottles. You can easily tell when you’re going to run out, as well. The kegs stay fresh for about two months. I think one of the great advantages of tap over bottles is we can give anybody a taste. We really surprise people when we say, “Here’s our wine list. If you’d like to try anything before you go ahead and buy, that’s fine with us as well. It’s really easy.” It makes getting wine one of the quickest things that you can do on the floor, especially if you’re in a rush in a busy service. Getting a glass of wine is no problem. If you can open a bottle of Coke, you can change a keg of wine. We had a great write
up in “The Telegraph.” Victoria Moore came and tasted some of the wines. She made the point that the Saint Emilion was tasting fresher than the one from bottle, which she felt was a great endorsement of the system. Jamie Goode, wineanorak.com, one of the most read wine blogs in the world, he thought the same thing. I think two out of three wines he tasted he thought tasted fresher from a keg. thought tasted fresher from a keg. We know our wine, and we know our customers and the restaurant environment, but getting to grips with the format that is best suited for the wine makers that we work with, the product that we have, and then ultimately dispensing it to the customers in the on
trade environment, that’s something which Petainer are incredibly knowledgeable at.

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