Good Fruit Grower

March 15

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Page 22 of 47 Good Fruit Grower MARCH 15, 2016 23 sophisticated bag-in-box system. The pouch is recyclable and addresses the issue of returning an empty steel keg for cleaning and refilling. This amounts to low packaging and shipping costs, although some winemakers detect an influence of the plastic in the taste of their wines. There are also plastic kegs on the market. While more prone to cracking than steel, they're lightweight and recyclable, reducing shipping costs and facilitating disposal. Both of these options address one of the most com- plex aspects of kegged wines: custody of the kegs them- selves. The steel kegs FreshTAP uses cost approximately $100 each, a significant capital investment as well as a significant loss if they're stolen. Recognizing the issues, FreshTAP serves as the linchpin in the distribution net- work connecting wineries and restaurants. Wineries in British Columbia give FreshTAP a vessel filled with wine that's taken to its warehouse in Vancouver for repackaging and distribution. Wineries need only track the vessel FreshTAP picks up, while FreshTAP manages the kegs that restaurants receive. Restaurants also deal with fewer distributors, rather than having every winery deliver its kegs (as is the case in Ontario). "They get to just make one phone call, and they don't have to worry about it all the way through to the end cus- tomer," Macquisten said of wineries. Direct TAP, a division of FreshTAP that also handles nonkegged products, such as cider, spirits and craft beer, oversees distribution. By boosting the range of products it distributes, FreshTAP was able to visit restaurants and retailers three to four times a week, allowing prompt recovery of kegs. Since wineries pay a per-day fee for the kegs, centralization also saves wineries money. "(We) distribute for over 40 craft breweries and cideries," Macquisten said. "We have built some really cool software that allows all the manufacturers to tee up their orders and then they go on our trucks, and they get routed. It really helps us with our keg operation, because we're able to pick those kegs up and have the turn- around much faster." The responsiveness impresses Summers, who is impressed at the growth of his kegged wine sales. "Before, we had a lot of issues getting empty kegs back," he said. "With Direct Tap, they've been able to tighten that up a lot, and it's made it a lot less painful for us and a lot more organized, for sure." Hester Creek is now moving more than 2,500 cases a year of Pinot Gris and Merlot via kegs, reducing its pack- aging requirements as well as allowing tighter control of what it's shipping to restaurants. The distribution network has also helped Kate Garthwaite, co-founder of Left Field Cider Co. in Logan Lake, British Columbia, which signed on with Direct Tap at the beginning of November 2015 after three years of self-distribution. "It was getting to be a bit much," she said. "We were at a point where it was taking a lot of time away from production." Garthwaite still makes regular trips to Vancouver, but having regular, consistent distribution allows her to be more flexible about when she travels and allows her to spend more time with clients when she is there, rather than having to bustle off to the next delivery. Growth opportunities are now drawing additional players into the sector, with Versay Inc. of Quebec offer- ing imported wines in kegs for a broad range of restau- rants across Canada. "It's more widely accepted now; there's next to no resistance to the fact that you're talking about wine in kegs," said Jean-François Bieler, president of Versay. "The initial reluctance some buyers and some restaurant owners might have had is disappearing fast. So that's a good thing." • Peter Mitham is a freelance writer based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Modify the Environment Promote Plant Health Suppress Insects with SURROUND Increase Water Use Effi ciency SURROUND Crop Protectant and PURSHADE Solar Protectant reduce direct sunburn damage and keep plants cooler. SURROUND delivers a bright white camoufl aging eff ect that disrupts infesta on, feeding and egg-laying among certain insects. Cooler plants use water more eff ec vely. SURROUND and PURSHADE are proven to keep plants more produc ve. When applied before periods of extreme heat, SURROUND and PURSHADE sustain photosynthesis and maximize yield and quality poten al. Contact your crop advisor or crop protec on supplier for more informa on. NovaSource®, Surround® and Purshade® are registered trademarks of Tessenderlo Kerley Inc. Pat. ©2016 Tessenderlo Kerley Inc. All rights reserved. Visit our website at Cool Your Crops with Proven Sunburn and Heat Stress Protec on Products Protec on you can see. Performance you can trust. NovaSource_Infographic GFG two_third pg.indd 1 2/22/16 3:33 PM

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