Wine on tap is a tricky issue for many venues with a consumer perception surrounding the quality of the product that can be difficult to change. But after more than two years of development and research Font Fine Wine founder Connor Fitzgerald believes that the slimline keg and gas free system he has developed could be a game changer for many venues.
Fitzgerald developed the system for his own venue after struggling to find a wine on tap system that would work in the small space he had. After extensive research and testing he has now created a 38cm x 82cm system that relies on a single power point, delivers two wine taps and he has a worldwide patent pending on the system.
“My wife and I have a function venue with a small bar and we could not find a wine on tap system that would work for us,” Fitzgerald told TheShout. “We were basically looking at retro-fitting a beer system and making it work for wine and a lot of the feedback at that point was not great about those systems or the wines and the costs involved.
“So over two years ago I started developing and testing in my own venue a system that is effectively a slimline fridge that fits under most bar benches. From that we can dispense two 10-litre cartridges of bag in box wine. Instead of putting the wine in a keg and pressuring it out with gas, we put it into a bag in box, insert it into our fridge, which then sucks it out with a pump. So you are not putting the wine under pressure, you’re not getting it to touch a gas and it’s only 10 litres at a time.”
The Font Fine Wine system is also dual zoned, which means they can dispense red and white wine, two reds or two whites depending on the venue’s preference.
After a period of testing in his own venue, Fitzgerald made the system available to a small number of other bars, where it was subjected to more rigorous testing. Having worked on the feedback from those venues, Fitzgerald said it made him realise he had to change and add a few things and he has now made the system “a lot more robust”.
The other important factor was making sure the wine available was of a good quality and as a small start-up business in Australia, he wanted to make sure he was supporting other Australian companies.
“I’ve made the choice to not be putting poor quality wine into the system, because I felt I was already on an uphill battle with people’s perception of wine on tap, so I wanted to put a good quality wine in there.
“I’ve picked all Australian wines, they are all vintage wines and they are all single varietals. I didn’t see any reason to pick a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, when I can get a really good Australian Sauvignon Blanc.
“I’ve picked five wines to start off with. There’s a Sauvignon Blanc because it’s the most popular white in Australia and I’ve got a Heathcote Shiraz because it’s the most popular red. I chose a King Valley Pinot Grigio because that’s showing some huge year-on-year growth and it’s the same with Pinot Noir, so there’s one of those. And then there is a Riverina rosé, because that’s the biggest growing wine in all of Australia. I’m looking at growing that selection as well as demand grows, but it’s about those five initially.”
This innovative system is now available in 12 venues in Melbourne and Victoria and while Fitzgerald is concentrating on that area at the moment he is planning to push up the east coast as well.