Winerators are nothing new and putting wine on tap is a very common way for commercial wineries and restaurants to dispense their wines. Wine on tap systems used to only be affordable for commercial businesses due to the high cost, but there are now many affordable kegerators to do the job at home.
Home wine keg dispensers are usually configured to dispense "still" wines (non-carbonated). To dispense carbonated wine, you need to make sure your system is setup to minimize the off flavors, higher pressures and foaming associated with sparkling wines. Beer kegerators have more of the components needed to achieve this.
You might be in a few different situations. One, you already have a draft beer kegerator and want to dispense sparkling wine through it. Two, you need a new dedicated system just for pouring some fizzies. Either way, there are a few pieces of equipment you need to keep in mind to get the bubbly pouring smooth at home.
Setting up and dispensing Champagne, prosecco, sparkling wine (or whatever you call it) with a beer kegerator is an easy conversion since sparkling wine and beer both use 100% CO2 gas. No need to buy a special air tank or a wine kegerator. Split systems or double tap kegerators would be ideal to dispense both beer and sparkling wine.
Wine will pick up a metallic flavor from chromed brass and lower quality stainless steel fittings. The best way to minimize off flavors in your draft sparkling wine is to make sure all the fittings in your kegerator are 304 stainless steel. This includes the tower shank elbows, faucet, and hose fittings.
Wine will pick up off flavors from normal beer tubing. You should use Antimicrobial and PVC Free Tubing to reduce bacterial growth in the lines and hold the higher pressures. Screw on clamps are also necessary due to the high pressures in the lines.
A stainless steel flow control faucet is suggested to regulate flow and control foaming. Sparkling wine is dispensed at higher pressures, so you may also need an in-line flow controller to restrict pressure if foaming becomes an issue.
Many places that carry beer kegs can also source sparkling wine in a keg or you can make your own in a homebrew style keg. Depending on what type of keg you have, you will either need a commercial style keg coupler (included with most home kegerators) or homebrew style keg (ball-lock) connectors.
Beer and wine require different pressures for dispensing, but a two product dual gauge regulator allows you to control two lines at different pressures. Typically, sparkling wine would be set between 60 to 90 pounds per square inch. For a champagne-like carbonation, at 40°F you will need about 50 PSI to get about 6 volumes of CO into solution. Use our force carbonation chart to use different temperatures when force carbonating a wine you have made at home.
Getting draft sparkling wine flowing is much easier when you use the CO2 tank already included with most home beer kegerators. Add in the suggested components mentioned above and your beverage selection just doubled and your friends and family will thank you.