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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Oregon Vinters Kegging Wine--Of Course They Are

Somehow this doesn't surprise me. In today's FoodDay, wine writer Catherine Cole reports that Wooldridge Creek Vineyard, a winery in Grants Pass, now kegs their vino:
Each reusable 5-gallon stainless-steel barrel holds the equivalent of 25 bottles of wine (15.5-gallon kegs also are available). The contents are kept pressurized by argon, a nontoxic gas that is naturally present in air. The result is 125 glasses of wine, the last tasting as fresh as the first.
There are many virtues to this practice. When restaurants serve wine by the glass, they regularly have to dump half-bottles that have been sitting too long. Packaging in bulk keeps prices lower, so customers can find expensive wine for a relative bargain if it comes from a keg. And kegs are also really good for the environment.
"What's really great is, because of the lower cost of production, we can sell what would normally be a $20 glass of wine for $7 or $8," says Sean Culley, general manager at [Portland's] The Melting Pot.... "The other thing is the sustainability factor. They don't have to use and ship the bottles, labels and corks, and we don't have to throw them away," says Culley.
(In the entertaining photo I found on the winery's Facebook page, you can see just how sustainable kegs are--note the Elysian keg in the foreground.)

I don't know how many wineries in the US current do this--maybe Woolridge Creek is the first--but it certainly seems appropriate for Oregon wine to be served in kegs. Maybe wineries and breweries can start bartering--stainless steel kegs for used pinot casks.


  1. This really makes perfect sense. Kudos to them, and hopefully this is something we see more of in the future.

  2. I knew someone else out there was doing this! I hate bottling, and my keg of wine always seemed really redneck to me, but now I don't feel so bad!

  3. Hi, this is Kara from Wooldridge Creek. Thank you for noticing the article on our keg wines. If there is anyone out there that is interested in trading stainless steel (drums, kegs, etc...) for used wine barrels we are always looking for used stainless.

  4. I can't remember what Cloud 9's house wine is (a restaurant here in Corvallis), but I know it's been served on tap via a 5 gallon keg setup for quite some time. Glad to see others doing the same.

  5. ^ Edit: I meant Downward Dog, the bar attached to Cloud 9.

  6. Actually they may be the first to keg red wine but Mcmemamins (an Oregon original)has been kegging their rose and white wines for a decade or more. They have seen the wisdom in efficient green bulk packaging of wine from the early-to-mid 90's. They also serve Hard Cider in kegs as well!