Wines that growl

Remember the “Fill ‘er up” wine from a tank?

Sadly, there have been no US entrants to this space in the scant six months since we posted despite a lot of interest. However, the NY Times recently observed that the Community Tap in Greenville, SC (photo, above) is offering wine-to-go as wine “growlers” akin to the 64-oz refillable beer bottles. Fruit-forward wines may be fresher with a keg than some bottled wine closures but unlike some craft brewers, all craft wineries bottle their product so the benefits would mostly be environmental and cost-savings. I think a large part of the appeal is the value aspect thus the $16.99 for 32 ounce strikes me as high, even though it is the same price as a 750-ml (25-0z) bottle. Part of what drove the popularity of the post on self-serve tanks in French grocery stores was the rock bottom pricing, I think. Unfortunately, the various markups of the three-tier system make that an uphill struggle in the US (except, possibly, at wineries).

I tweeted about wine growlers in the US and the twitterati could not think of other bars or stores that yet to offer these. (Can you?) However, a few wineries do allow growler-type refills; the NPA in Sonoma offers wine in refillable “kleen kanteens.”

What’s the most appealing part of self-serve wine to you–environmental aspect or the cost savings?

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10 Responses to “Wines that growl”

  1. Did you mean that there is no freshness to be gained bottling wine this way?

  2. Hi Robin — whoops, thanks, corrected!

  3. Bottlehouse ( in Seattle offers wine on tap from a keg/growler program called Maison, made by Wilridge Winery.

  4. As an addendum to my last comment, this does not mean customers can fill up their own growlers to take home. Current law prohibits it. You can serve glass-pours from a “keg,” and a bottle-exchange method is the closest you can get to growlers, at least in Washington.

  5. Palmina Wine in Lompoc, CA offers growler fill-ups at a reduced price. It’s all part of their philosophy of recycling, renewal and sustainability.


  7. Standing Stone Brewery in Ashland, OR.

  8. Thanks for the shout-out. The Natural Process Alliance / The NPA is now on its 3rd vintage. We’ve only ever used re-usable containers that are brought back to the winery for cleaning / refilling.

    More than packaging though- the refillables are just an extension of our farming and winemaking- (Organic or Bio-D, no manipulation, no or minimal SO2) It is about getting wine to people when it is still alive- The packaging helps the process.

  9. Lincoln Peak Vineyard in New Haven, VT has a refill program for the 2009 Marquette
    and the owner Chris Granstrom says that it has been very well received by the local folks, and he’s been surprised at the refill traffic.

    We make wine at home, and so we focus on the second node of the Reduce – Reuse – Recycle strategy. With even the crappiest bottles costing $1 each at supplier retail, we get some seriously nice glass, that we could never find or justify buying, from our own wine purchases and friendly donations. Drinking wine for the environment…

  10. This sounds an awful lot like vin en vrac, or as my wife likes to call it “Domaine Hosepipe.”

    I can remember bringing a jug to the late, great Martini & Prati winery (now Martin Ray) to get a slug of Field Blend Of The Day out of a hose. And bringing a plastic Cubetainer to Le Atrium in Souillac (right on the border of the Lot and the Perigord) for very good Cahors at an absurdly good price.


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