Uncorked

Wine on tap idea a great innovation

Samantha's Tap Room and Wood Grill in Little Rock is on the cutting edge of wine serving in the Natural State. It's the first restaurant in Little Rock to offer all wine and beer on tap, through a top-of-the-line tap system with 32 beers and 20 wines offered.

The restaurant was awarded the 2015 KEGGY Peoples Choice Award given by Free Flow Wines of California. The award was announced in September and officially presented Oct. 22 in Napa Valley, Calif. In a news release, Free Flow Wines said, "Samantha's was chosen for going above and beyond in the wine on tap category."

If you consider how long it took for the world to accept screw top closures on wine bottles, it's no wonder there's some confusion and misunderstanding surrounding the wine keg.

The wine keg is one of the biggest innovations in the wine industry. It offers restaurants the ability to preserve wine by slowing the inevitable stages of oxidation and spoilage, as well as promoting environmental responsibility with less waste and packaging. Even better for consumers, it allows us to explore many different wines in one setting.

It works much like a beer on tap system. Most kegs are around 20 liters, holding the equivalent of about 25 standard 750 mL bottles. The wine is sent from the vintner to a distributor and then filled into stainless-steel kegs. When the keg arrives at the restaurant, a plastic tubing system connects the keg to the tap dispenser and a gas (mostly nitrogen) is used to pump the wine through the system into the glass.

In a news release, Jordan Kivelstadt, founder and chief executive officer of Free Flow Wines, said, "As of today, Free Flow Wines and our partners have saved 5,805,618 bottles, corks and foils from the landfill, totaling almost 9 million pounds of trash. ... That's a significant reduction in waste, and as an industry, we should all be very proud of that accomplishment."

Of course wine bottles are not going away and will continue to be the standard packaging for wine. There are not many who will be installing keg systems in their homes, but there's no question the system is a great innovation.

Lorri Hambuchen is a member of London's Institute of Wines and Spirits. Contact her at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, P.O. Box 2221, Little Rock, Ark. 72203, or email:

[email protected]

Food on 11/04/2015