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Don't Cork It

Side Dishes: Vermont winery offers bulk wine

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When Lincoln Peak Vineyard & Winery owner Chris Granstrom traveled to Italy for a food producer’s conference, he noticed bulk wine dispensers in the grocery stores. Townspeople could stroll in with empty bottles and fill them at the tap.

A month ago, Granstrom and his daughter, Sara, figured out a way to offer something similar to customers at their New Haven family vineyard. Visitors can put a $4 deposit on a growler, and a staffer will fill it with the equivalent of two and a half bottles of 2009 Marquette — a full-bodied, oak-aged red with notes of black cherry and pepper, Sara Granstrom says.

“We thought [bulk wine] was a neat idea, especially since the culture of Vermont is focused on reusing as much as possible,” she adds. “So far we’ve had a really great response. One woman has come back four times.”

In addition to being eco-friendly, the jugged vino is economical. A half-gallon growler rings up for 18 percent less than its equivalent in regular bottles. According to Sara Granstrom, that’s part of the beauty. “When you take a look at the European model, they make excellent wine available for everyday consumers,” she says. “That’s what we’re aiming to do. We make excellent wine, and we’d like it to be accessible.”

Those who can’t chug through a growler’s worth of juice before it starts to oxidize can get their wine in liter bottles — available soon.

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