Keg wines come to Asheville; visit Sante to sip

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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Asheville is one drinkin’ town. Here’s the press release from loyal reader Claudette:

Wine-lovers at Santé Wine Bar and Taproom in Asheville were recently treated to a cutting-edge concept in winemaking: wine from a keg. Yes, you read that right: wine from a keg. Santé’s keg system is the first in the state to feature twelve taps solely dedicated to wine, and it’s an idea whose time has come.

The benefits of serving wine from a keg are many. First, it’s better for the environment. Waste reduction is a key selling point for many keg wine proponents. One keg holds about two cases of wine, but without the glass bottles, corks, boxes and packaging. Plus, transporting kegs is more efficient and better for fuel consumption since kegs weigh less than their traditional counterparts. Second, the system is airtight which means no oxidizing and no spoiling, so the last glass is as fresh as the first.

Carla Baden, owner of Santé, believes that Asheville is the perfect place to launch the new keg concept. “Asheville is the kind of place where people – visitors and locals alike – are thoughtful about their food and drink,” says Baden. “The wine tastes fantastic and we’re really proud to be the first in the state to offer this wide selection of wines on tap.”

Customers will be quite familiar with the “look” of the keg wine system as it’s similar to draft beer, although the process differs for pouring the perfect glass. Whereas draft beer uses high-powered carbon dioxide to give the beer its fizz, draft wine uses inert gas under low pressure to deliver the product and ensure freshness.

Local buzz over keg wine at Santé started before the taps were even installed. Santé launched its system with six wines, and sales of tap wine outsold traditional pours two-to-one on the first night. Says Baden: “I fully intended to wait to tell anyone until all twelve wines were in place. But once word started to get out, I realized people were really intrigued and wanted the wine now – so we started pouring!”

Current wines on tap include: a silky 2010 Austrian Zweigelt from Zum Martin Sepp; Dominio IV’s “Love Lies Bleeding” 2010 Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley; Gotham Project’s 2009 Old Vines Zinfandel; SilverTap’s 2008 Sonoma County Merlot (a product of noted Atlanta restaurateur and keg wine pioneer Todd Rushing); and two 2010 SIP (Sustainable in Practice) certified California whites – an Albariño and Chardonnay – from Niven Family Wine Estates.

Santé will continue to work with wholesale wine distributors in North Carolina to bring more wine kegs into the state, and plans to have all taps flowing by the end of February. “Keg wine delivery is simply a better option for domestic and imported wineries,” says Devon Price, owner of Sour Grapes Wine. “By lessening the environmental impact of oversea and cross-country shipping, it ultimately allows wineries to deliver the best product smartly to consumers. It really is the future.”

While Santé may be partial to wine, they also offer four local beers on tap as well as light fare to compliment the wine. Selections include several cheese boards, salads, handmade pizzas as well as an assortment of house-made dips including olive tapenade, hummus, and roasted red bell pepper, among others. Santé also offers a myriad of choices of wine by the bottle, and has no plans to change that anytime time soon. Says Baden, “We realize there will still be times that customers will want to buy a bottle of wine to drink here or enjoy at home. Our new keg system will not change that but will simply offer more choices.”

Santé is located in downtown Asheville at One Page Avenue in the Grove Arcade. Santé opens at 4:00pm daily and is also available to book for private parties. No reservations are needed, although large parties are advised to call ahead. For more info, call (828) 254-8188 or visit

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Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

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1 Comment

  1. Ben January 26, 2012

    Congrats to Sante and Sour Grapes – seriously, keg wine is great. Not the packaging appeal of a glass bottle, but the quality of the juice is often fantastic!


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