Four years ago, wine on tap was just emerging. Thanks to enthusiasm from wineries and growing interest from restaurants, more than 3,900 locations in 49 states now offer it, according to our recent news article on Tapping the Potential of Wine in Kegs. Increasingly, top restaurants are choosing to source their by-the-glass wines in kegs, since it helps keep the wines fresh and at the correct temperature.
In addition, the sustainability movement in the wine industry has prompted many wineries to look at alternatives to shipping heavy cases of glass bottles. Along with kegs for their restaurant clients, many producers have switched to lighter-weight glass for bottles destined for consumers. Others have experimented with everything from the familiar bag-in-a-box to plastic and aluminum bottles to cartons and pouches and even a "paper bottle"—in particular for wines meant for early consumption. (Read Going Beyond Glass for a look at how those weigh in.)
Still, many wine drinkers are resistant to giving up what they view as the traditions and rituals of wine, or view anything other than a bottle as a mark of lower quality. (Witness the ongoing debate over corks versus screwcaps.) If you've tried (or even just seen) any wines served from alternative packaging, tell us which you think is the best.