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Tap into this new wine trend

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Here’s a classy new twist to the keg party: kegged wine.

Vino on tap is gaining traction in Brooklyn, now available at least three Brooklyn bars and restaurants — Seersucker, Huckleberry Bar, and Blue Ribbon Brooklyn.

Wine on tap isn’t just a clever novelty scheme — its better for the environment, and keeps wine fresher, making sure the last glass from the keg is as good as the first. Better yet, by ditching bottles, corks, labels and related production costs, wine producers save as much as 25 percent.

“Ultimately, the result is that the consumer is able to get a better glass of wine for less,” said Bruce Schneider of The Gotham Project, which supplies Huckleberry Bar and Blue Ribbon with 2009 Finger Lakes Riesling on draft.

Kegged wines are much like beer — the primary difference being that nitrogen replaces a carbon dioxide-and-nitrogen cocktail as the space-filler in the kegs. Whites and rosés, which are chilled, get similar tap treatment to beer. Reds, at room temperature are a bit trickier, which accounts for the dominance of whites and rosés in the New York draft wine scene.

“This type of system has been around for a long time, but the wines weren’t very good, now the focus is on putting high-quality wines into kegs,” said Schneider.

When Rob Newton and Kerry Diamond opened Seersucker in May, they envisioned kegged wine from the start. The restaurant stocks a rosé from Red Hook Winery that Newton says has been their number one seller from day one.

“People dig it,” said Newton. “It’s a great, local wine and we can sell it at a cheaper price than bottled wines — it was a no brainer.”

That said, Mark Snyder, owner of Red Hook Winery, is skeptical whether kegged wine is here to stay at all.

“I think it’s a fad right now,” Snyder said, citing the reduced convenience of kegging wine for small-time vintners. “But I don’t think people are really going to get in it for the long term.”

Whether it’s a passing trend, for the short term kegged wine is on the rise. Joe Carroll’s St. Anselm and Spuyten Duyvil in Williamsburg are slated to start carrying it within the month. And the much-anticipated Brooklyn Winery is considering serving kegged wine when it opens in September. Sample in Cobble Hill is also considering offering it.

“We want people to be curious and excited about wine,” said Brian Leventhal, an owner of Brooklyn Winery, “This is definitely turning wine on its head a little bit.”

Sounds like more and more people will be tapping into this trend.

Seersucker [329 Smith St. between Carroll and President streets in Carroll Gardens, (718) 422-0444]; Huckleberry Bar [588 Grand St. between Leonard and Lorimer streets in Williamsburg, (718) 218-8555]; Blue Ribbon [280 Fifth Ave. between Garfield Place and First Street in Park Slope, (718) 840-0404].

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