Wine Kegs, What a Concept
By: Janine Buchal
Posted: Apr. 16, 2013


[A lineup of Ukranian wine kegs / Wayan Vota]


Virtually everyone has been invited to a “BBQ kegger” or at least heard of a beer keg. But have you heard of a wine keg? The trend is taking off in both the consumer market and the restaurant industry.


Americans love their wine and apparently the more of it, the better. Wine kegs are available for the public to buy for the occasional party or to stock a man cave. Some wine kegs are utilized at brew pubs or restaurants that don’t have the space for cases of wine, as they are typically sold.


Those available for the public to buy, range in price from $199 to $399 and store up to six liters of wine, some refrigerated, some not. The Vinocopia Barrel, for example, is available as a small wine barrel and you refill the contents as needed. The barrel insert filled with wine ranges from about $60 to less than $200, depending on your taste. The wine lasts up to three months before needing to be replaced due to oxidation…. that wouldn’t happen at my house. A consumer typically drinks through the wine keg faster than it would go bad. Refills are available online or at many local liquor stores.


[A diagram of the Vinocopia Barrel internal design / Vinocopia, used by permission]


Not every wine available in bottle form is also available as a keg so your choices are a little more limited still, but the options are certainly growing. The wine is tapped, much like a box wine would be, for easy set up and access. Generally the only complication is that white wine kegs need to be refrigerated and red wine kegs merely need some counter space. Temperatures for storage apply the same as for a bottle of wine, with an ideal temperature range between 45° F and 65° F.


Those installed by a restaurant are much like that of a beer tap although their set up uses Nitrogen not CO2. It provides a unique opportunity for a purveyor to offer wine to customers yet not have to store so much of it or waste what does not get utilized before it spoils. The main reason it seems that wine kegs are being offered as a new trend is their cost effectiveness. Over five bottles by volume are stored in a four-liter steel tank with the wine contents staying fresh for up to six months. Provided by distributors, wine kegs make an effective and useful cost savings of time, space and money for the typical restaurant owner. Plus, the profit margins stand to be better as well.


According to Wine in a Keg, an educational website of keg manufacturer Shaefer Kegs, the “evolution in wine dispensing, wine on tap is an eco-friendly, cost reducing way to provide high quality wine to your customers.”  Wine kegs are a novel concept whether you are a consumer or a restaurant owner. So next time you are throwing a party or out at your favorite beer brew pub, do ask what is on tap. Don’t be surprised if the answer is a favorite wine. Go for it and order a glass of wine from the wine keg. If you have ever traveled to France or Spain, you’d be sure, the Europeans have been way ahead of us on this one for years.


Janine represents a Colorado-based wine distributor. Read more about her here. No promotional considerations were received for this article; all opinions are those of the author.


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