Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The WineStation

I had my first experience with modern wine pouring apparatus over the weekend, trying out Napa Technology's WineStation at Copia. After a lunch at Taylor's and some tomato plant purchases from the Copia spring plant sale Jenne and I wandered inside to do some window shopping and look around. We had a free $5 pour card that I just HAD to use (I then quickly had to purchase another $10 card to meet my needs) and they had a Pinot on "tap" from Central Otago. Beyond being the southernmost wine growing region in the world Central Otago has also created a reputation for itself as one of (if not the) best places to grow pinot in the southern hemisphere. I've been kind of fascinated by the region of late, perhaps because is so far on the fringes, but this was my first time actually tasting anything from there. I sampled the 2005 Wild Earth Pinot Noir and I was very pleased with it. A nice brambly pinot with a great slightly earthy nose and just the right amount of fruit. I tried a few other Pinots too but I won't go into that.

Per the WineStation, the geek in me liked it, there was something very "adult-amusement park" about wandering around with a little cash card and sampling wines at will. I'm not sure if you've seen or used these before (they are turning up in more and more places) but this one had 3 different pour sizes for each wine (taste, half-glass, full-glass) and you just insert you card and with glass up to the appropriate spout press the pour you want. It seems to work well, maintains freshness by inserting a layer of argon gas after each pour and gives the wine drinker more of a free reign to wander through the selection at their pace. On the downside, you lose the interaction with a human that is a)generally nice and b)a source of more information/education on the wines they are pouring. I also managed to hit two empty bottles, thus regaining the "human interaction" while she had to re-load the machine. I'm guessing from her point of view, in this case, the machine was equal parts assistant in pouring lots of little samples and nuisance in requiring a bit more work than simply opening the next bottle.
napa, fall 2007:

If you ever find yourself wandering in Napa and can stop by Copia I'd recommend checking this out. See Napa Technology for more info on the WineStation on their website.

Also: Thanks to Peter for correcting me on the manufacturer of the wine dispensers at Copia - I'd previously noted Enomatic. Though they look cool too they are not the units used at Copia.


Peter M said...

The tasting machines at Copia are very cool - lots of fun and educational as you can learn about many different wines with simply the swipe of a card.

One correction, the machines are not from enomatic (an Italian manufacturer), but they’re called “Wine Stations” and are produced by Napa Technology in Silicon Valley.

Unknown said...

Ahh... Thanks for the correction Peter! I'll update the post with the right machine info.

viNomadic said...

Been thisting for a taste of those NZ Pinots. Here in Argentina, i was hoping to find time to visit the cooler growing areas around Neuquén & Río Negro, but got stuck in a holding pattern after getting a bit sick. Also, Argentina has BIG infrastructure issues, i.e.: no trains, bumpy 18 hour busrides, else a plane if you must go-- no landlines, everybody depends on celphones...should I go on?
...another link--