Wine on Tap

What comes from a keg, stays fresh for 60 days and isn't anything like what you would expect? Wine by the barrel, of course


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Courtesy of Deloach Vineyards

Ordering a glass of wine at your local restaurant? You may be getting wine drawn from a keg, not poured from a bottle. A growing number of East Bay restaurants are opting for the eco-friendly, cost-cutting benefits of wine on tap.

Pete’s Brass Rail in Danville, Pizza Antica in Lafayette, Blakes on Telegraph, and Chop Bar in Oakland, to name a few, fill their wines by the glass from kegs or mini tanks that hold the equivalent of 15 to 20 bottles of wine, depending on the system.

This doesn’t mean you’re settling for 1980s-style boxed wine. Más Wine Company, which distributes its wine in reusable mini tanks to 20 East Bay restaurants, has won several awards, including medals from the 2009 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. Más Wine Company president Andy Woehl says that a built-in gas chamber in the tank pushes the wine out and keeps it fresh for at least 60 days.

Restaurants using a wine-on-tap system significantly reduce waste and overhead. This is exactly what Oakland’s new Chop Bar is doing, says Lev Delany, executive chef and co-owner. A distributor gets the tanks filled at a participating winery and then delivers them to the restaurant, which has a revolving selection of about eight wines on tap, such as a Diamond Mountain Cabernet, Preston Rhône Blend, and Sutton Cellars Syrah. “We get a good price on a high-quality wine and have virtually no waste, so our customers pay a lower price,” says Delany. “Some cost less than $6 a glass.”

Having a big party? Check out Más Wine Company, maswinecompany.com; DeLoach Vineyards’ Barrel to Barrel, deloachvineyards.com; or Red Truck Wine’s Mini Barrel, redtruckwine.com.

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