An increasing portion of wines by the glass at restaurants are packaged in kegs. These are inert stainless steel, and come in a variety of sizes-- from 2.5 to 30 gallons. Most people are familiar with beers in kegs, and for the same reasons that they are good containers for beer, they are good for wine. What's more, they can minimize the cost of a glass of wine, because the restaurant is no longer passin galong the cost of the packaging of a wine in glass, nor the possibility that the wine will go bad before reaching a consumer. Effectively, this means a high value wine at a lower price point. While consumers may never directly purchase a keg of wine, it makes a lot of sense for restauranteurs.
Winemakers who currently use kegs for a portion of their production often note the high quality of the wines, despite the age of a keg. At a recent industry gathering, one cited an example of a half-filled keg that was returned to the winery a year after being tapped. “The wine was in perfect condition,” he said.
Since the expense of starting up a kegging program can be pretty steep, winemakers in more winery-dense areas now have the option to work with commercial wine keggin services to oversee the packaging, storage, and delivery of kegs. A third party kegging operation saves wineries from needing to purchase their own kegs, in addition to the cleaning, sanitizing, and packaging, which many wineries aren’t set up to do easily.
I have great hopes for the future of wine kegging in Arizona. As far as I know, only one winery is currently in the keg business, but I think it makes a lot of sense if you have the sort of volume to make it work, and if you are invested in bringing in customers through their experiences with your wine in a restaurant setting. Who knows? Maybe in a few years, you'll be able to enjoy a glass of Tank 12 right from the tap.
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