Big Boys Toys
Wine starts to turn into vinegar the moment it’s exposed to oxygen. For the on-trade, this oxidation issue causes problems on two fronts; it’s money down the drain every time staff have to throw out the remainder of a bottle and it’s a sales opportunity lost when the customer wants just a glass or two of a better vintage.Thanks to preservation systems this need no longer be a problem. Here are three options for wine serving success.
Illuminated wine cabinet dispensing systems such as the Enomatic are a common sight in wine bars and other hospitality businesses. Typically holding four to eight bottles at any one time, they do an excellent preserving job. However, with an eight-bottle device measuring over 1m in length and 67cm in height, finding space for even one machine can be a struggle. The Winefit system gets around this problem with a patented distribution cap and a serving/resealing machine. To serve you uncork the bottle and install a patented distribution cap. When a customer orders that wine, you insert the bottle into the machine and press a button. Winefit automatically pours a pre-determined quantity of wine into a glass and tops up the bottle with argon gas before resealing – stopping oxidation for up to 35 days. This machine takes up less than a third of the space of a usual dispensing system and you can have as many bottles on the go as you have distribution stoppers.
A fully integrated system that holds a replaceable argon gas cylinder within the unit casing and doesn’t need any special installation. Easily sited behind or on the bar, the system is portable and needs just a power supply to be up and running.
Operators wanting to wall mount or build a Winefit into a counter can opt for this stainless steel system, with the option of adding an air conditioning unit that allows storage of wines at a constant temperature, right next to the machine. Easy to clean and maintain, the sole consumable apart from power is the argon gas. Replacement cylinders are £48 – sufficient for serving wine by the glass from up to 50 bottles – equating to 16 pence per 125ml pour. Systems are available from around £2,000, including 10 caps.
This stopper with an active carbon filter competes with traditional
vacuum pump systems that claim to preserve wine for short periods – typically two to five days. No pumping is required with AntiOx, so there’s less chance of user error, forgetting a process, or over pumping – which can often cause more damage to the wine. Usage is simple. Open the bottle as you would normally, pour what you need and then stopper with an AntiOx. The silicone construction forms a tight hermetic seal on the bottle and the unique carbon filter purifies the air trapped in the bottle and halts any further oxidation. Lots of thought has gone into the stopper design. There’s an integrated date recording system so you can keep track of when each bottle is opened and the stopper is big enough to prevent an accidental binning by staff. It comes with a 12-month guaranteed life in service. Feedback from restaurants and bars to trade suppliers such as Birchgrove has been excellent, with most rating AntiOx as a really good preservation system for high turnover wines. The stoppers cost around £6 each and are perfect for outlets that do not necessarily have specifically trained serving staff.
WINE BY THE GLASS FILTER
If you sell fine red wines, then you’ll know all about the need to watch out for sediment when pouring. Originating from a proposal made by Daniel Primack of Winerackd, Birchgrove has developed a wine-by-the-glass filter cup. Using a high-tech mesh that captures even very fine sediment, the attractively designed cup can be used with any kind of glass and is a stylish addition for use in service or at home. Look for details at www.birchgrove.co.uk
A breakthrough product when serving top end fine wine by the glass, Coravin has the ability to completely eradicate wastage. If used correctly, there is no reason why any bottle ‘accessed’ cannot continue to age how it would naturally – for years to come. This is a real game changer that has got the industry buzzing, with top flight restaurants and wine experts queuing up to endorse and adopt the system. Developed by wine buff Greg Lambrecht, Coravin uses surgical product design techniques to draw wine out of the bottle by means of a needle that penetrates the original cork. That wine is replaced with inert argon gas, the natural elasticity of the cork resealing the bottle as the extraction needle is removed. The bottle can then be returned to the cellar to continue aging, exactly as if it had never been accessed. This opens a myriad of opportunities, not least that by using Coravin you can offer your finest wines by the glass, sure in the knowledge that the rest of the bottle will remain perfect for years to come. Coravin allows you to offer iconic wines by the glass; create exceptional food and wine pairings; delight and educate your clients with wines they would never previously have been able to taste due to the cost of having to buy (and drink) a whole bottle. Coravin retails for £269, but make sure you talk to experts like Birchgrove first, as training on correct usage and cleaning is something it can supply as part of the deal. Gas cost per 125ml serve equates to around 32p – a small price to pay for the ability to sell your finest wines by the glass.