NW winemakers swap bottles for taps

NW winemakers swap bottles for taps

EUGENE, Ore. - The next time your restaurant server pours you a bottle of wine, the bottle may not be there.

Many Northwest wineries are tapping into a new technology to serve their product: wine on tap.

"King Estate started with wine on tap in January," said Steve Thomson, vice president of King Estate in the Lorane wine country. "Already we're in 26 states across the country with wine on tap."

King Estate started by shipping wine in kegs. The winery added taps to their visitors center in June.

"The great thing for us is the last glass is as good as the first glass, even if it happens 3 months after the wine is first tapped," Thomson said.

And the move to kegs means less bottled wine will go stale in hotels and restaurants, Thomson said.

There are other benefits, like less weight: moving kegs of wine weighs less than cases of bottles, which means lower shipping costs.

"I think it's fantastic," said Karen Woody, who was tasting wine Wednesday. "It was very clear and it felt really good in your mouth."

"It was very excellent," added Mary Ann Woody. "I didn't even notice it was on-tap until later."

Each keg replaces 40 pounds of bottles and cardboard boxes. That means King Estate avoids sending 5 tons of packaging into the waste stream each year.