Wine on Tap, Tidings Magazine

Image courtesy Tidings.ca

There’s plenty going on at Vancouver Urban Winery these days—including wine on tap at Gastown’s soon to be open TUC Craft Kitchen. They’ve even re-purposed a couple of vintage fire extinguishers as part of the deal!

Tap & Barrel kegs

Tap & Barrel kegs

Yesterday we were tasting Blasted Church Hatfield’s Fuse on tap from a portable unit at Brix Restaurant. The occasion was the inaugural Okanagan Falls Winery Association Tasting. Next week sees the arrival of Backyard Vineyards ‘Hand Drawn’ Red and Backyard Vineyards ‘Hand Drawn’ White on tap at Tap & Barrelwhere sommelier David Stansfield is setting a brisk pace. This story has legs, as they say. And not just in the glass!

Earlier this year we wrote a piece for Tidings Magazine, which traces not only the west coast story but gets into how wine on tap is really taking hold across Canada.

TAPPING

by Tim Pawsey

David Stansfield is one happy man.

He’s the sommelier and wine buyer at bustling Tap & Barrel, in the heart of Vancouver’s newest neighbourhood that’s sprouted in the former Olympic Village.

Tap & Barrel's David Stansfield

Tap & Barrel’s David Stansfield

The restaurant (which opened in summer 2012) is well named: The capacious, two tier modern space with sweeping views of False Creek and downtown pours just about every drop of wine or beer it sells not by the bottle but by the glass, right out of the tap.

In fact, Tap and Barrel, along with Vancouver Urban Winery, the company which facilitates the process—is transforming wine service at casual dining establishments across the city and elsewhere.

The consumer reaction has been nothing short of amazing, says Stansfield, who says even he was completely unprepared for such a positive response.

Tap & Barrel: taking the keg wine market by storm, Tim Pawsey photo

Tap & Barrel: taking the keg wine market by storm, Tim Pawsey photo

“I bought the entire run of Laughing Stock Sauvignon Blanc for the year, 400 litres.”

“I thought ‘I’m gonna get fired for this—we’ll probably still be serving it next year!’ But we sold out in five weeks—and that was an $11 glass of wine from a premium producer,” he chuckles.

Equally surprising, says the sommelier, has been the relative drought in bottle sales.

“Our list has a full range of well-chosen wines, including some very good values. But as it represents only four percent of our wine sales, I’m scaling it back.”

Only a year ago, wine on tap was barely on a blip on the horizon but signs are that the trend which arrived south of the border a couple of years ago is now knocking firmly on Canada’s door.

Want to read on? You can grab the pdf, courtesy of Vineland Estates.