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Bring on the Kegs! Wine by the glass without the bottle

Written by Lauren Levine on Thursday, 15 November 2012. Posted in Magazine, Eat This Winter 2012, From the Cellar

Bring on  the Kegs! Wine by the glass without the bottle

We now live in a world where we have become much more concerned about the environment, our children’s futures and waste. We are more frugal in how we spend our hard earned cash, especially when it comes to our own reward time. An evening of candlelight and comradery is all the brighter when it is also green.

Walking in, I imagined the building’s past life awakening with the retro-chic-Hollywood style booths circling the first floor and gracious smiles that lit my path. The open foyer glistens with beautifully restored terrazzo floors and elegant and reused walnut walls. There is a beautiful dichotomy of past versus future emanating throughout the space that is Stars.

Stationed in the center of this spectacular room sits the wine on tap system, VinTap. It is the largest in the world, hosting thirty-two taps that contain eight white and eight red wines. (Each individual wine has four taps.) If you’re feeling a bit confused and shocked at the moment, I want to clarify that I did say wine on tap! Wine kegs, with an advanced system that seals in the wine’s freshness using nitrogen, while carbon dioxide is used to push the wine through the tubes towards your glass. This amazing green endeavor saves corks, foil, labels and bottles for twenty-six bottles of wine per keg and guarantees sixty-five days of fresh wine for “tapped kegs”. All wines offered at Stars by the glass are on tap!

I had the pleasure of speaking with and being guided onto the second of three floors by Zach Smith, Beverage Director. He showed me the recyclable kegs in one of the most modern looking cellars, somewhat reminiscent of a kitchen walk-in. The room seemed almost hidden from prying eyes, untainted, only allowing the door to open via punch code. The system’s tubes that carry the juice run through the walls, as the veins of a building with such life and history.

Keith Jones, owner of Stars, has been hosting visions of wine on tap since 1979, experimenting with different forms before inviting the largest VinTap system into his own “home”. Partnering with Michael Ouellette (Founder of VinTap) for the past several decades, the two have truly brought grandeaur and innovation to the table once again.

I asked Executive Chef Nathan Thurston what he would eat if he were able to enjoy his evening as a diner, versus behind the line. He described the most succulent scallops cooked over a wood fire, removed just as they are starting to char, forbidden black rice, butterbeans and a bluegrass soy vinaigrette (soy aged in Bourbon barrels). If you’re wondering what to drink … both Thurston and Smith light up when speaking of the rose.

Forget your troubles, your desires to make the world a better place. Or perhaps I should say remember them. Drink your wine of desire and continue saving the planet as you do so. We should all devote ourselves to Stars principle … ”reuse, reclaim, restore and sustain.” Happy drinking.

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