California Wine: Keg Stand

These days as I drink my way around Los Angeles, I see a change happening. When I slide onto a barstool at a sleekly designed restaurant with a carefully thought out menu and ask for a glass of wine, I am presented with a list of what's on tap.


Now, I am familiar with taps, and have a strong love of them: they bring forth beer. But in my pickled past the only time I recall wine being found on tap was at a bar called The Slip In in San Diego, where I also remember a homeless person found sleeping in the corner.

Recently, however, wine producers in California have turned to this delivery method for high quality wines. Well-known wineries from Napa's Peter Franus and Saintsbury to local Santa Barbara heroes Palmina and Hitching Post are shipping their wine in kegs.

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Kegging wine makes sense for a variety of reasons. On an environmental note, kegged wine means less packaging -- no bottles, no corks, no labels, no boxes. It is as close to National Park wine as one can get: take nothing, leave nothing, just return the keg. Kegging wine also ensures dependable quality. Much like the Stelvin closure (i.e., screwcap), kegging wine removes the threat of corked wine, while preserving the wine from oxidation. These benefits are persuading both local producers and wineries around the world to consider packaging their wine in kegs (or the similarly benefited bag-in-box format). So considering the advantages, it only makes sense that venues around Los Angeles are choosing to serve wines on tap.

One place that has gone the way of serving kegged wines is Lukshon in Culver City. With Sang Yoon being a leader of cutting edge of cuisine in this city, it's not surprising that he would also champion this innovation in wine. From Lukshon's taps flow Gruner Veltliner from Edna Valley, Albariño from Monterey, and Arneis from Santa Ynez. Sang showcases international varietals grown here in California. Hopefully with all the advantages that kegged wine provides, it will only be a matter of time before we see wines from around the world flowing from a tap near you.

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