On-premise embraces wine on tap

20 SEP 2018

On-premise embraces wine on tap

Author: Alana House

The wine-on-tap revolution is gaining momentum, with a growing number of winemakers introducing tap wines to their ranges.

And many restaurants and pubs are beginning to see the advantage of getting their wine deliveries in kegs.

Sydney’s Chin Chin in Surry Hills, is serving five wines on tap.

Philip Rich, general manager of wine for The Lucas Group which runs Chin Chin, told The Daily Telegraph: “It’s just getting people to realise that even if it comes out of a keg, it can be the same, if not better quality than what comes out of the bottle.” 

“The first screwcap wines came out in the early 2000s and diners would send it back. Seventeen years later, everyone accepts screw caps.”

Chin Chin’s tap wines have been created for the restaurant by some of Australia’s best wineries including Brokenwood, Jim Barry and Yabby Lake. 

Meanwhile, Zilzie's international sales manager Caroline Simonis told ABC News why it has added two tap wines to its range.

"The first glass to the last glass out of that keg are exactly how the winemaker wants you to receive it and enjoy it," she said.

Simonis added that the 30-litre kegs were easier to deliver to venues and businesses also did not have the hassle of trying to store glass bottles. Zilzie's rose and pinot grigio keg wine is being served at venues from the middle of Queensland to Sydney, as well as a few places in north-west Victoria.

"We've had a couple of groups knocking on our doors that have 40 or so pubs in their group saying 'Hey we're interested in keg wine', so the response has been amazing so far," she said.

Where it all began

The concept of serving wine on-premise from a tap kicked off in 2016, when Tap Wines designed a way to preserve premium wine in stainless steel wine cylinders and poured from custom-designed ceramic towers to serve the perfect glass of wine every time.

The company notes on its website: "The TAP. system preserves the full flavours and freshness of our handpicked range of varietals to consistently pour flawless wine, with no risk of spoilage, oxidation or cork taint. Every time.

"But it’s not just all about the wine, TAP. also reduces the vast waste and costs associated with the transport, handling, storage and then disposal of traditional wine bottle packaging to deliver a new cost-effective and environmentally friendly approach to wine service."

Kegstar founder puts wine in beer kegs 

Last year, Kegstar founder Adam Trippe-Smith came up with a new brainchild: wine in beer kegs. He teamed up with winemaker Tom O'Donnell to launch Riot Wine Co.

The pair were having a glass of wine together one day when they came up with the idea of selling wine in beer kegs. They joined together with Kegstar's first employee, Joe Cook, and were off and running.   

As the company notes on the Riot website: "A kegman, a wineman and a businessman were sitting in a bar, discussing the logistics and nuances of pour-by-the-glass practices of wine, in on premise venues. The high levels of waste, loss of profits due to spoilage and the sheer inconsistency of it all amazed them. It really seemed there was a lack of innovation, a lack of people fighting for wine by the glass and a lack of options for on premise venues. They decided it was time for a change - they started a Riot."

The pluses of kegs are they keep UV light from damaging the wine, are hermetically sealed, more resistant to temperature fluctuations, and involve far less packaging.

"Kegged wine is stored with pressurised nitrogen, making it more stable and far less volatile than bottled wine," Riot notes. "Unaffected by heat and oxidation, the quality and longevity of kegged wine is preserved spectacularly, ensuring consistency of quality from first to last glass.

"It may seem hard to believe but just one 50L keg of Riot Wine is equivalent to 65 bottles of wine. This means using one keg of Riot eliminates the need for 65 bottles, 65 caps, 65 labels and 5 cartons that would otherwise end up in landfill. Riot kegs also require less storage space than bottled wine and are far more efficient to transport. They are refillable for up to 30 years, and therefore reduce the carbon footprint, with each and every glass."

Innocent Bystander embraces the tap

When Innocent Bystander unveiled its new cellar door in Yarra Valley’s Healesville last year, its centrepiece was a 15 metre stone bar with unique copper wine taps.

Mat Janes, Head of Innocent Bystander, said: “Innocent Bystander loves to deliver memorable wine and food experiences, and our intention is for our new Headquarters is to do exactly this, in a friendly and inspiring environment.

“Our draught taps allow people to enjoy a glass of wine, or share one of our famous carafes.”


Sourced:  House, A. (2018). Drinks Bulletin : On-premise embraces wine on tap.  Available: tinyurl.com/y9d948bl (accessed Sept 20, 2018)



Kegged wine has several advantages for the restaurant and the winery.  These advantages include environmental, quality related, and economic.

Environmentally, Kegs eliminate tons of packaging, & are reusable for 20+years.  Since only 27% of glass is recovered for recycling, this would divert millions of bottles from landfills.  If 10% of that was served from a keg, that would save 60 millions of bottles from landfills.  Besides, Kegs lessen transported wine’s weight, which accounts for one-third to one-half of the industry’s transportation carbon emissions.

Kegs keep a consistent level of quality.  When a keg is tapped, the contents become pressurized by an inert gas, which prevents oxygen from ever touching the wine, & therefore eliminates the waste that comes with serving wines by the glass.

Economically, kegs results in cost savings as compared to wine in bottles.  Restaurants can then capitalize on even higher profit margins by offering more high-end wines by the glass.

However, one of the hurdles to the success of wine on tap is the negative perception of consumers from a keg.  Needless to say, not all wines are suitable for being kegged, such as those that benefit from aging in a bottle, so bottles will not be replaced anytime soon.  But wines that are packaged when ready to drink are perfect for kegs & these represent about 90% of all wines produced.