Wine still has a bit of an air of intimidation for some people, and that's where the wine on tap model comes in. Lots of hip, urban areas have wine bars where patrons can taste or serve themselves tap wine.
Bars can have bartenders pouring the tap wine, but I've been to a few wine bars where customers can hit the taps themselves. The most common self-serve model I've seen is where the customer buys a card, then swipes it at whichever wine tap she wants. You can buy a taste -- a 1 to 2 ounce (29 to 59 milliliter) pour -- or a whole glass.. The self-serve model feels very accessible, because you can taste the wines and decide what you like without the pressure of a wine pro standing over your shoulder.
Like so many other new serving methods, wine on tap comes with some environmental benefits. It reduces the amount of wine that a restaurant wastes, because the tap's design preserves the wine longer. Once you tap a bottle, it hardly comes into contact with oxygen at all. Store owners like that, because wasted wine is literally money down the drain. Switching to tap wine can save up to 25 percent of the wine a bar purchases [source: Wine on Tap].
Tap wine can also help reduce packaging waste. While I've seen single bottles on tap, often tap wine is from a keg, rather than a bottle. That means less packaging, lower shipping costs, and a lower carbon footprint.