Taste YGOW winner Aphelion’s grenache on TAP.

3 October 2019. Words by Anna Webster.

When Rob Mack of Aphelion Wine Co. was crowned the 2018 Young Gun of Wine, he won more than just glory.

Part of his prize was a contract with TAP. For the next 12 months (or until it runs out), Mack’s grenache will be available on tap at Melbourne’s Neighbourhood Wine.

For those unfamiliar with Aphelion, it’s a relative newcomer in the world of wine. Although Mack has been making wine under the label since 2014, 2017 was the first year he and his partner Louise were able to produce commercial quantities.

The couple mostly make grenache, mostly from a single vineyard. “It’s one of the most versatile varieties that I’ve come across,” says Mack. “I can throw a whole lot of different processes at it, like whole bunch fermentation, I can leave it for a long time on skins, it always turns out pretty well.”

The other reason is the suitability of the variety to McLaren Vale. “It’s a classic fit to the terroir or climate of the South Australian region,” says Mack.

Rob Mack of Aphelion (the 2018 Young Gun of Wine) has become recognised as a grenache guru

The Aphelion grenache on tap at Neighbourhood Wine is from the 2019 vintage, so it’s really fresh and vibrant. “It’s right down the line of the red fruit spectrum,” says Mack, “raspberries and cherries. Medium bodied with a refreshing and crisp acidity.”

Working with TAP. is a new experience for Mack and Aphelion, but so far, so good. “It’s very secure, which is good, it’s much more spatially responsible and environmentally responsible,” says Mack. “It’s packaged in a 20-litre keg, so that’s over two cases of wine in one container instead of 26 glass bottles being used. It makes a lot of sense.”

Andrew De Angelis, the brain behind TAP., elaborates. “TAP. wines are housed in air-tight cylinders and then dispensed using an inert gas to push the wine into the glass,” he says. “The gas doesn’t compromise the quality or characteristics of the wine, and the unique system enables us to pour the perfect temperature for whites, reds – even sparklings.”

The environmental reasons plus the fact that it eliminates the risk of spoilage from oxidation, UV light strike or even cork taint mean that tap wine is becoming more and more popular at venues around the country. Carlton’s King and Godfree, which includes Agostino and Johnny’s Green Room, is using TAP., as are A25, Ladro and Woodstock pizzerias.

According to TAP.’s website, use of their systems across Australia has so far prevented over 200,000 bottles from ending up in landfill (plus boxes and other associated packaging), with that number rising every day.

TAP. produce eight of their own wines – sparkling, sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio, chardonnay, rosé, sangiovese, pinot noir and shiraz (plus spritz and beer) – but some venues choose to hook up local wines to the TAP. system and serve them instead.

Neighbourhood Wine in Fitzroy North is one of Australia’s top Wineslingers

At Neighbourhood Wine, co-owner Simon Denman says they hold over 4000 litres of keg wine at any given time, sourced from Australian winemakers he commissions to make a vintage for him each year. Buying in bulk means he’s able to sell the wine by the glass for around $9, which is considerably cheaper than the $16 a glass it would cost if it was being poured from a bottle.

“Stability-wise, the wine tends to look better than it would if you were pouring it from the bottle, too,” says Denman.

In July 2019, TAP. implemented another carbon-reduction initiative. For every keg of TAP. wine sold in Victoria, De Angelis will plant a tree. “Every industry and brand nowadays needs to re-evaluate the impact it has on the environment”, he says. “It’s important we give back to the world that has given us this beautiful product we drink.”

To try Aphelion’s grenache on tap, head to Neighbourhood Wine or Denman’s latest project, Old Palm Liquor, which just opened in Brunswick East. To try the other wines in TAP.’s range, look for participating venues here: tapwines.com.au

TAP. is a partner of the Young Gun of Wine Awards.

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