Here is a sketch of the wine wall layout. Today I will describe the company we are using to provide the technology, how it works and the philosophy behind our wine selections.
We are using a company called, of all things, Pour My Beer. They have their global offices near Chicago and installed their first prototype at Mother’s Federal Hill Grille in Maryland in 2009. With the explosion of the craft beer scene from then until now, they have expanded their technology to include Hotels, Casinos, Cruise lines, stadiums and concert venues across the United States and Europe. Their proprietary technology stems from what they call their “Magic Box” which integrates a touch screen, printed circuit board, quick connect flow control and an radio frequency identification (RFID) reader and writer that is able to track a customers access to the taps. The Magic Box records the pours accessed by the customer, by the fraction of the ounce, adds it to the existing tab, keeps account of the total alcohol consumed, and displays the current charge and total charge for the customer. Two features of this system really stand out when used for wine service. First the customer is always aware of how much they are spending, wines can be expensive and the tab could run up quickly especially with some wines costing from $2-$4 per ounce, or $10-$20 per five ounce glass. We think our customers will appreciate this as they enjoy some amazing wines, self-served by the glass, which they might not try elsewhere. Imagine being able to try an ounce or two of a Silver Oak Cabernet vintage. Second, with wine there is no foam, so you get what you pay for.
Another wonderful thing about the wine pour system is that the wine comes in Stainless steel kegs, just as many are aged in. There is no flavor loss or staling of the wine because its pressurized with a gas mixture of argon and nitrogen which prevents oxidation, and this maintains the true components of the wines complexity and character.
Keeping with our triple bottom line ideals, that of profit, employee growth, and protecting the environment, we estimate that each year TAHOE POURHOUSE will prevent over 5000 lbs. of glass from needing to be made, transported, disposed of or recycled. That is a huge carbon savings when all combined. The Stainless Steel kegs are cleaned and sanitized by a company in Napa called Free Flow Wines© and can be re-used indefinitely.
Free Flow Wines© works with wineries across the US to assist in kegging wine at the perfect time, much like bottling, and has both mobile kegging operations that travel to the wine caves filling directly from the cask, or wines are transported in huge tankers to the facility in Napa to be kegged there.
While not every wine is available in keg format, we feel that the benefits of the system both in the guest experience and in savings to the environment justify the effort to continue to search out every popular and quality made wine, currently on the market in kegs. At some point, we might even have a proprietary wine exclusive to the POURHOUSE kegged on site at the winery and reserved for us.
Our selection process is based on two conditions, (1) that the wine be a popular variety with good name recognition, showing excellent complexity and value and (2), it must be imminently drinkable with good food. We will feature an ever-changing array of wines dedicating 8 taps to whites, 8 to reds, and four to a specialty category including roses, sparkling, and perhaps a cider. Scott Strong, with the help of Mitch Clark are doing the hard work of tasting the line of products available in kegs today, creating a list of the best selections for our opening. TAHOE POURHOUSE will be one of only 2 self tap wine venues in the U.S.! Our nearest competitor is Craft and Vine near Dallas TX.
In the next article, we will delve into our “Discovery Wines” category for the wine-bar and selections by the glass available for retail purchase in bottles.
Thanks for reading! - Mark