Last week, I got invited to the launch of Hotel Atton El Bosque’s wine dispenser thanks to Max, the man behind AndesWines. I was pretty excited – getting invited just about anywhere is quite a nice feeling, and getting invited somewhere that you are promised wine is a VERY nice feeling. I have to admit though, I wasn’t entirely sure what all this talk about “wine dispensers” and “pre-paid cards” was about, so I showed up to the event intrigued. I left more than a little in love with the whole concept. So, first things first, what is a wine dispenser? This.
It’s a cabinet that keeps each bottle of wine at the correct temperature – there’s one for reds and one for whites and pinot noirs – and away from oxidizing air. It allows the hotel’s bar to offer 24 different wines by the glass while many bars and restaurants shy away from offering such a wide selection because it can so often mean losing a lot of wine if only one person wants a glass from a particular bottle on any given night. That’s obviously a big plus for the establishment, but it wasn’t my favorite part.
The whole thing works with a pre-paid card. The card itself is free if you put a balance of $10.000 (US$20) on it. Stick your card into the slots on the machine, choose your wine, and it will debit the correct amount from your card – easy peasy. And the very best part is the choices you have. Not only the choices of wine, although considering there are 16 reds and 8 whites currently on offer, each with a little summary to give you an idea of whether you might like to try it, you can’t really go wrong. But my absolute favorite thing about this wine dispenser is that for each wine, you can choose to have the machine dispense either a taste, a half-glass or a full glass.
This is perfect for someone like me who’s getting more and more interested in wine but still can’t claim to be familiar with every bottle out there. I went taste-happy, trying 5 wines for under $3.000 and without the hangover that would have come from 5 full glasses. I can’t wait to get friends together for a happy hour here for a little self-service wine tasting night. Of course, if you fall in love with a certain vino, you can pour yourself a full glass or even buy a bottle, but considering the plan is to rotate the wines to offer more variety, I think I may just become a tasting addict.
That night, I tried the following wines (all prices are for a taste – a couple mouthfuls):
– Lolol Syrah ($700): I love syrah, I loved this.
– Cartagena Sauvignon Blanc ($700): I’m not huge on sauv blanc, but this would be nice on a summer’s day. The vineyard that produces this wine, Casa Marin, is run by a woman and her sons, and one of the sons and a daughter-in-law were there, so it was nice to get to know them.
– Cavas Submarinas Chardonnay ($300): I didn’t have any strong opinions about this one.
– 1895 Cabernet Sauvignon ($700): Yummy. Yes, that’s a technical wine term.
– Viu Manent Malbec ($700): I haven’t had many malbecs, so I can’t say how this compares to others, but it was very smooth and enjoyable.
Interested? Hotel Atton El Bosque is located at Roger de Flor 2770 in the El Golf neighborhood of Santiago. Go check out their wine dispenser! And no, they didn’t tell me to post this or compensate me beyond a few free glasses of wine, I just really am that excited about it. Thanks to both the Atton and AndesWines for introducing me to the wine dispenser!