Wine kegs could be advancing to Florida as aboriginal as this summer. (Free Flow Wines )
April 22, 2013|By Heather McPherson, Orlando Sentinel
This summer, wine enthusiasts could apprehension lower prices and added choices aback they about-face to the by-the-glass account at their admired restaurants. All it will booty is the Florida Senate to canyon the accompaniment bill that already has sailed through the House acceptance wine to be awash in kegs to restaurants.
Florida and Utah are the alone states that bar the stainless-steel kegs, which allocate the agnate of about 26 bottles of wine — or almost 130 glasses. The action is acclimated by some of the top wineries, including Bonny Doon, Au Bon Climat and Gallo.
Whether it’s the Darden chains or bistros such as K Restaurant Wine Bar in College Park, restaurateurs are cat-and-mouse to see what happens.
The bill (SB 658), accepted to be debated Tuesday on the abounding Senate floor, is a “win, win, win,” said Jill Ramsier, co-owner of Quantum Leap Winery a city Orlando.
“For consumers, the aboriginal bottle will aftertaste absolutely the aforementioned as the last,” said Ramsier. “For restaurants, wine on tap reduces decay and allows for bigger [profit] margins.” For wine producers, such as Quantum Leap, it provides for industry growth.
Chef Kevin Fonzo of K Restaurant Wine Bar says the kegs would advice his y access alcove wines to serve and abundance added affordably.
“I am hopeful this will pass,” said Fonzo. “I don’t accept a abounding liquor bar, so I charge to action my guests absorbing alternatives at optimum acidity to break competitive. If this bill passes, K will accept wine on tap.”
Although actual customer accumulation are speculative, some experts apprehend as abundant as a 20 percent amount bead for a high-end bottle of wine. Dan Donahoe — architect and administrator of Free Flow Wines, a California aggregation that offers added than 100 wine brands on tap — estimated there could eventually be as abundant as a $2 accumulation on a $10-$12 bottle of wine.
The wine tap systems “will absolutely address to millennials who adulation cool, new approaches and are abundant added into exploration,” said Ramsier. Server education, she said, will be key to accepting earlier wine enthusiasts on board.
And because kegs annihilate best packaging abstracts — bottles, corks, labels and cases — the action could compress the carbon brand of the wine and restaurant industries significantly, said Fonzo.
The action doesn’t change how wine is made, artlessly how it alcove the consumer. All wines are age-old in barrels or tanks. But instead of activity to a bottling line, the wine is added to lined stainless-steel kegs.
When wine is dispensed, the abandoned amplitude in the alcove is abounding with an apathetic gas mix that prevents the wine from oxidizing. This allows wine to be caked from the aforementioned alembic for weeks after spoiling.
Last month, a agnate bill in the House anesthetized unanimously, and the Senate accompaniment bill has won accepted approval in two of its three board stops. Though there is no agreement it will pass, the abstraction is already accepted at top restaurants in Los Angeles and San Francisco and has the absorption of Orlando-based Darden restaurants.
“We are aflame about how we can advantage this and that’s still in discussion,” said George Miliotes, adept sommelier and cooler administrator for Darden’s specialty restaurant group, which includes Seasons 52 and The Capital Grille.
“The actuality that over six weeks the aftertaste of the aboriginal bottle of wine is absolutely the aforementioned as the aftermost is impressive,” he said.
Several industry watchers said antecedent advance aback came from the benefactor side, but Scott Ashley, admiral of Wine and Spirits Distributors of Florida, downplayed that.
“It’s an arising market, and aback our barter are excited, we’re excited,” said Ashley. “There will be some amount incurred by our members. But accustomed that the arrangement may be in abode to accomplish acute investments,” distributors will amount that out, he said.
With home beer kegs popular, does this beggarly wine kegs are destined for home use, too?
“That will be appearance two,” said Donahoe. “Right now we are attractive at barter only, on-premise use and caterers with a liquor license.”
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