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When Euclid Hall opens on Monday, it’ll be the third Denver restaurant to serve wine on tap. This trend—pouring wine straight from the keg—is not new (several California restaurants employ the method, as does Two Urban Licks in Atlanta), but it’s catching on locally.
Beth Gruitch, co-owner of Euclid Hall, Rioja, and Bistro Vendôme, looked into installing a wine-on-tap program at Rioja, but build-out and space prohibited it. When it came time to design Euclid Hall, however, she was ready to put her research to use.
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The system is similar to beer: Buy a keg from a winemaker, tap the keg, and return it.
“I like it because it means fewer bottles [each keg holds the equivalent of 15] and less waste; the wine stays good longer; and there’s less of a footprint,” says Gruitch. The latter is especially true because Euclid is offering three wines from The Infinite Monkey Theorem, which is located three miles away.
Keeping the wine fresh longer is key, says Adam Reed, general manager at Denver’s Jax Fish House: “Unlike pouring wine by the glass [opening a bottle, pouring a glass, and recorking it], this is consistent and there’s no waste.” That’s because oxygen never touches the juice, so it never has a chance to degrade it. The wine keeps for 60 days—likely longer than it will take a restaurant to run through a five-gallon keg.
Another payout is that restaurants can charge less for excellent wines. Table 6, which has been serving one rotating wine by the keg since Memorial Day, charges $9 a glass for wines such as Sineann, The Infinite Monkey Theorem, and Cargasacchi. And once owner and sommelier Aaron Forman offsets the initial investment, he hopes to sell it for even less.
At Euclid, which will serve up to four wines on tap, Gruitch expects to charge $8 for a glass, while over at Jax, the asking price is $7 to $9 for the rotating wine.
Bonus: More restaurants are likely jump on the keg trend, but we already know Lechón, the forthcoming spot from Ben Parsons (owner and wine maker at The Infinite Monkey Theorem) and Justin Brunson (chef and co-owner of Masterpiece Delicatessen), will feature several wines on tap when it opens in late 2011.