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Bottling Blues Leads to Kegging Thoughts


Arnold Alexander — Bend, Oregon asks,

I really hate bottling. I pretty much detest almost everything about it, from the hassle of cleaning to assembling all of the parts and pieces of gear and supplies. The only thing I like about it is having my friends over while I feed them pizza and beer (no wine allowed on bottling day) and press gang them into giving me a bunch of free labor. Then there are the times when I have a corked bottle turn up after all that hard work . . . I could go on! Sorry to complain. I’ve been contemplating kegging my wine — I know it’s maybe a little weird and it does feel like unknown territory. I’ve never homebrewed beer but some of my buddies have, so I feel like I could give it a try. What do you think about kegged wine — yay or nay?

Hey, I’ve been there . . . a couple of years ago I also entered into unknown territory. After years of bottling one of my commercial Pinot Noirs in Stelvin screwcaps, I embarked on an adventure into the land of wine kegs, or “wine-on-tap.” I kept hearing from sommeliers and restaurant staff how by-the-glass programs were exploding for them and wine-on-tap was leading the way. Consumers liked the environmentally friendly message, they liked the often higher-end choices of wine on offer, and, ultimately, they liked the quality they were tasting in the glass.  The restaurant owners and staff loved the fact that they didn’t have to toss half-used bottles of open wine that hadn’t sold, didn’t have empty glass bottles to recycle, and that their staff was more efficient now that the “cork popping” tableside ceremony was happening less and less often.  But, as a home winemaker, what if you’re not planning on selling your wine like I do and therefore the above reasons to keg your wine don’t really apply to you? Rest assured there are still plenty of
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Response by Alison Crowe.