By Rachel Gross
The New York Times called it ‘not merely good but brilliant.’ For the Daily Telegraph (UK,) it created an ‘experience contemporary and aspirational.’ The last glass is ‘as fresh as the first’ promises the Washington Post.
What is this revolution overtaking the wine drinking world?
Wine on tap.
We’re all used to beer coming out of a tap in bars and restaurants. Most of us still expect to come from a bottle, possibly covered in dust and served to our table by an accented waiter. But just as our telephones are no longer affixed to the wall and our cameras don’t have film, the world of wine making is moving on.
Oxygen is a winemaker’s worst enemy. The oxidation of wine changes the subtle balance of flavors, rendering a world-class wine nothing more than expensive vinegar over the course of time. The bottling process is designed to effectively cut the exposure of the wine to oxygen to nearly nil. It’s remarkably effective… until the bottle is opened.
Finishing a bottle of wine in one sitting might not be an unwanted burden for some of us. Wineries have produced small 350ml ‘couples bottles’ that are half the size of a regular bottle for those of us who want to limit our intake. But it presents a problem for restaurants.
Restaurants want to offer their customers the option of buying wine by the glass but this means opening a bottle of wine at the risk the rest won’t be finished before time renders it undrinkable. Bottles of wine ‘by the glass’ are often open in restaurants for a few days before they are finished, which means that some customers will be receiving a reduced quality of wine. Restaurant owners are still forced to discard wine that was unused within a few days. This extra overhead means customers pay a higher price per milliliter for a single glass of wine than for a whole bottle.
Enter a solution to the whole issue – wine on tap. By serving wine on tap, restaurants are able to serve a single glass of high quality wine. With aluminum kegs, gas lines and special refrigeration system (similar to the system used for beer on tap,) wine can now be kept at peak quality for up to a month, which is more time than enough time for a busy restaurant to finish the 10 liter supply.
Not only does wine on tap guarantee a consistent quality of wine, it is much better for the environment. By doing away with glass bottles, their packaging and transportation, kegs of wine come at a much lower cost to the environment. A ten liter keg can be filled and refilled for up to ten years. If you’re not altruistic enough to switch away from bottles just to help the environment, wine on tap comes at a much lower cost to the consumer. With much lower overheads, wine on tap can bring a glass of wine within the same price bracket as a glass of coke.
As Israel is known as the start-up nation, it is little surprise that the latest trend to take over the winemaking world would be also found in Israel. With a well-respected reputation in Israel and internationally as a producer of high quality wine, the Galil Mountain Winery is spearheading a move to bring this new technology into Israel restaurants. The winery is changing the face of wine consumption in Israel with a pilot program that started in five of the most popular restaurants around Israel, which is due to expand to 50 in the next three months.