Wine, Tapped

Written by
Patrick Maietta

Tradition is important.  It give us structure, purpose, and a way to define the world around us. Sometimes traditions are personal, while other times they are broad and cultural. The wine Industry is uniquely positioned between the dusty halls of a rich tradition, and the blinding lights of innovation.  It’s a world that requires constant change, while also holding lovingly onto the past.

Everything from the way grapes are grown, aged, and poured, simply to the correct way to properly taste your wine, has been both ingrained into popular culture, while also remaining mercurial.  New methods sparkling through the dust, like sunlight through a tattered window. It is through this lens that Wine served on tap, instead of in the traditional bottle, can be viewed as exciting innovation.

A traditional wine bottle is iconic. It is a symbol of class and of craftsmanship. It is not going anywhere, nor should it, but it is always worthwhile to view art at new unexplored angles. This new view brings us to the titular tap. Wines served through taps provide Winemakers with a brand new way to present their art to an audience. It allows the customer to taste the wine before it has been bottle aged. The wine is being experienced in a state of freshness that would otherwise only be available directly from the cellar. New tasting notes may move to the forefront of a particular varietal that otherwise may have been hidden from view, and completely new vintages may be attempted to make specific use of the advantages the tap system offers.

            Another important factor is sustainability. Kegged wine eliminates much of the production that goes into packaging. This in turn lowers energy usage. Kegs can be used indefinitely, if taken care of, while maintaining quality and taste. For an industry that literally needs the environment to function, over the long haul, the benefits could be astronomical.

Ambiance is also part of the discussion. This element is clearly seen in the rising popularity of craft breweries, which have more or less taken the relaxed, social watering hole nature of your everyday corner bar and mixed it with the sophistication and high art of a winery. In turn, wine on tap has brought things full circle. It’s simply fun, and watching the bartender pull down on an elegant piece of carved driftwood (many taps are works of art), as your wine of choice cleanly splashes into your glass, never fails to put a smile on my face. It’s a very tactile, hands on feeling the taps provide, and the genuine feelings of enjoyment is simply contagious.

Tradition is vital. It’s the signpost used to mark where we have been, and where we want to meet in the future.  Without this map, we would simply be set adrift, but like any good map, room exists to chart a new course. Let’s look forward to purchasing a bottle of our favorite wine, and bringing it home to enjoy with friends and family. But, let’s also make plans to visit your favorite local vineyard just to see what they have on tap.