Field & Main builds a wine-on-tap program with help from Early Mountain Vineyards

For Virginia Wine Month, we’re sharing briefs on the industry.

Photo by Rey Lopez

Neal Wavra wanted a “more happy and cheerful wine.” There is a time for a “wine of contemplation,” Wavra says, but that’s not always necessary.

When the owner of Field & Main collaborated with Early Mountain Vineyards to create a wine to sell on tap at his Marshall restaurant, he needed something easy to drink. He thinks about the little trattorias in Italy, where the owner plops down a jug of red—whatever it is, it’s the house red, and it goes with everything.

We can stop turning our nose up at wine from a keg because to truly become a wine-drinking region, we need to acknowledge there’s a wine for every occasion. Of course there will always be special-occasion bottles, but a casual night also deserves its own glass of red.

Wavra put together a blend hooked on cabernet franc and chambourcin for a fruity, smooth creation that is “straightforward and tasty,” says Wavra. He also created a white, a vidal hybrid blend for a more complex experience, and buys the Madison winery’s own rose for the tap program.

Kegging wine is “probably more efficient and cheaper,” says Wavra, than “just throwing bottles away” that were never finished. Kegs better preserve the wine because of the lack of oxygen transfer. It can last for three months, whereas a bottle can maybe last a week when held correctly.

The wine-on-tap trend has been growing in recent years, but it’s far from widespread. Says Wavra, “If a restaurant already has a tap system, I think it will continue.”

(October 2017)