Coming soon to a wine bar/restaurant near you: wine kegs. Rejoice.
Similar to beer kegs, wine kegs have been around for years, but drooling stupidity by many state lawmakers historically has restricted or forbid their use.
Florida, hardly a poster child of intelligent legislation, recently relented to allow wine kegs, and many consider that a tipping point for national adoption.
Thirty-six states, including Texas, allow for wine kegs, although—no surprise—each state feels compelled to adolescently mark their territory by adopting different and arcane regulations. Some states limit kegs to one gallon, other states allow more than five. If you can fathom a rationale, you are very clever indeed.
Wine kegs keep wine fresher and make restaurant and bar service easier. Serving by-the-glass wine to customers becomes as simple as serving tap beer.
Wine kegs are more environmentally friendly, eliminating dumpsters full of glass, closures, capsules, plastic bags, and cardboard boxes.
Adding to the green theme, kegs can be cleaned and reused for 20 years or more, compared to the one-time use of bottles and bags—landfill-saving advantages alone are huge. While most wine detritus decomposes, it takes a hundred thousand years. You do the math.
Wine bottles will remain a staple of home use, but wine kegs in bars and restaurants seem such a clear win for quality, convenience, cost-savings, and environmental benefits that even legislatures should be embarrassed about standing in the way. Sadly, history says that is unlikely to stop them from trying.
• Gnarly Head Old Vine Zin 2011. Fruity cherry, raspberry; pepper, chocolate chips, oak chips, vanilla; simple, crowd pleasing consumer zin. $10
• Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay 2011. Soft, citrusy, green apple, oak, honey; clean, lean, delicious; charming value chard. $12
• DaVinci Chianti 2011. Nice 90-10 sangiovese-merlot; real chianti, not commodity pretend chianti; ripe plum, cherry; jammy, dry with balancing tannin. $15
Last round: The most important cooking utensil is a corkscrew.