Cheers October 2013

Cheers is dedicated to delivering hospitality professionals the information, insights and data necessary to drive their beverage business by covering trends and innovations in operations, merchandising, service and training.

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Which Wines To Tap? Perlick's 60" Dual-Zone Wine Center, shown above at Pizza Man in Milwaukee, is configured to dispense eight wines—four white and four red—in two different temperature zones. controlled tower that serves as a focal point in the restaurant. Taps use argon or nitrogen to prevent oxidation, and the wine is drawn by gravity. Two Urban Licks has added another 30 wines on tap since 2004 due to demand; it offers 28 white wines and 30 red wines on tap, with prices ranging from $8 to $14 a glass. The wine is served as a half glass, glass, mini thief (10 oz.), half thief (20 oz.) or full thief (42 oz.). "The benefits are incredible—eco-friendly, freshness and more," Rushing notes. What's more, customers are accepting and embracing the concept, he says. "It has moved from a novelty to a smart decision when ordering." When the management team for the Washington, D.C.based Matchbox Food Group was mapping out plans last year for the 300-seat vintage pizza bistro Matchbox, they knew they wanted tap wine to be a big part of its beverage program. Why? "It has significantly less waste, and producers have gotten to a point where they are producing quality wines for keg systems," explains executive team member John Donnelly. Matchbox offers nine wines on tap, priced $6 to $11 a glass, at one of its Washington, D.C. restaurants and eight at its Merrifield, VA, location, priced $7 to $11 a glass. Guests can also get draft wine in "half bottle" and "bottle" amounts. Matchbox Food Group operates nine restaurants total. A WIDE SELECTION OF WINES Several companies now specialize in amassing winery clients and offering complete portfolios of kegged wines. Matchbox, There is some debate as to which wines are bestsuited to being served on draft. Zach Tirone, general manager and sommelier for the 130-seat The LCL: Bar & Kitchen in New York, thinks whites and rosés shine best, as well as light-bodied reds including cabernet franc and pinot noir. "And recent vintage wines are probably best, since a keg system is all about being fresh and clean," he adds. The LCL: Bar & Kitchen serves Channing Daughter's pinot grigio on tap for $13 a glass and $52 a "bottle." Tavernita restaurant in Chicago has served everything from "light zippy whites to oaky cabs," says beverage director Paul Tanguay. Most wines that work well under screw tap—those that are meant to be consumed within two years—work in keg format, says Bruce Schneider, cofounder of kegged wine supplier Gotham Project "The goal is the same: to preserve the primary fruit flavors, aromas and freshness in young white, rosé and red wines." Schneider, also believes red wines with light to medium tannins and oak profiles are conducive to being kegged, rather than those intended for longterm aging. "The reality is, wine you would buy by-the-glass somewhere is not going to be some super high-end juice that has been aged for years," says Noel Burkeen, president of Another Round Wine Bar in Katy, TX. Winemakers are changing their viticultural and vinicultural practices to produce wines meant to be consumed now, Burkeen says. That's in part why recent releases will comprise the majority of wine-on-tap selections, he says. Not everyone agrees, however. Most of the wines on tap served at Two Urban Licks are recent releases, says Todd Rushing, partner for the Atlanta operator's parent company. But that's due to kegged wines being a relatively new trend, he says. Rushing believes that the uptick in inventory of international wines in kegs—including rioja—will lead to a tendency of seeing older wines on tap. —KAM for example, purchases them from Free Flow Wines. Founded in Napa Valley in 2009, Free Flow Wines maintains more than 250 large and small winery clients, from Trefethen Family Vineyards in Napa Valley to Simi Winery in Sonoma and King Estate in Oregon. The company currently offers more than 250 wines available in stainless steel keg format at over 1,500 venues nationwide. Free Flow founder/chairman Dan Donahoe cites the environmental benefits as the top reason that more operators are trading bottles for kegs and corkscrews for tap lines. "Each wine keg holds the equivalent of 26 bottles," he says. "In 2012 OCTOBER 2013 | 19

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