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Richer Pour: House Wines on Tap

Becky Sue Epstein

Why doesn't every restaurant have wine-on-tap? That's what I thought when I saw the bar-dispensed keg wine demonstrated by Richer Pour founders David Gordon and Eric Ritvo at a high-end eatery in Boston. Especially when I tasted their wonderful Chablis-style Carneros Chardonnay. My second thought was: Where can I buy a bottle of this? Then I realized that's the whole point: There is no bottle.

The Richer Pour wine-on-tap system in action on-premise.

Richer Pour debuted its wines on tap less than a year ago, after the 30-something founders had noodled around with the concept for a couple years. Introduced by a mutual friend, Gordon is part of a family business (a well-known wine and liquor store in a Boston suburb) while Ritvo describes himself as a "recovering attorney."

Ritvo had fallen in love with wine on a 2006 trip to California and when he decided he wanted to move into wine full time he started talking with Gordon. Gordon saw there was "a hole in the market" for providing high quality house wines to better restaurants at lower prices.
As Ritvo puts it, "We want to surpass expectations for $8 a glass."

You might think that sourcing the wines would be their largest obstacle, but Gordon already had contacts in that area. Instead, their first self-described "huge hurdle" was sourcing the containers for the wine. In that area, they seem to have surpassed their own expectations. They have found a completely recyclable container that holds 202 liters or 26.6 bottles' worth of wine. That's 120 glasses at a 5.5 ounce pour.

Each container (we can call them kegs) weighs only a couple pounds, as opposed to the much heavier conventional metal keg that is used for beer. Not to mention the savings in shipping for the 26.6 glass bottles at 1.2 pounds each—which makes Richer Pour's "kegs" each 30 pounds lighter.

Even greener, Richer Pour's containers, sourced from Amsterdam and made with cardboard and plastic, break down completely so there are no deposits required on equipment, and no storage problems for empties.

In terms of service, it eliminates spoilage or waste of unused bottles, too; the wine in these containers is guaranteed for 90 days.

Wines can come from anywhere Gordon and Ritvo can find the quality they require. The containers themselves are filled at the wineries that blend and store the wines for them; a special filling head is supplied with the containers.  

Dave Gordon and Eric Ritvo, founders of Richer Pour.

At the moment, Richer Pour wine on tap is served at the Bank of America pavilion events in Boston, and in several different styles of restaurants in the Greater Boston area. It can appear on the menu in many forms including by the glass or by the carafe, as a house wine or a named wine. Depending on the establishment, a glass costs $7 to $9. I only hope the rest of their wines are as good as the first Chardonnay I tried!

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