Refilling Your Wine Bottle at a Different Kind of Wine Bar: En Vrac, Paris
The first time I went to En Vrac, I immediately fell in love. You come here not just to buy wine, but to enjoy a different kind of wine buying experience. Because here, you fill your wine bottle from a stainless steel tank. Yes, wine in bulk.
Before you make any decisions, you can taste, a small glass poured straight from the tank. There are reds, a white, even a rose. There’s something about biking home with that clear, unmarked bottle, closed with a metal hinge cork. A taste of the countryside in the middle of the city (in fact, they also have olive oil on tap, always from small-scale producers). To say that I love this concept would be an understatement.
I wrote about En Vrac recently for the wonderful online magazine PUNCH.
Refilling a reusable bottle isn’t just about having a cheap bottle of wine for dinner, it’s about plugging into a system that isn’t solely driven by speed and industrialization. The experience is much different than the one of standing in front of a wall of bottles at a retail store. And while the staff at En Vrac is forthcoming about the producers, methods of production and farming, with no artful labels or hype to hide behind, the wines have to speak for themselves. This allows for a kind of democratization of wine and wine consumption.
“Even if we’re in a country that’s one of the largest producers of wine… it has become complicated to buy wine in France,” says Poincin. “We have a tendency to regard wine as sacred.”
Of course, consuming wine “en vrac” is nothing new, even in the U.S. Back at the beginning of the American wine movement, President Jefferson was given wine in bulk—two five-gallon barrels from the first American vineyard in Kentucky—and in regions like Italy and France, buying wine in bulk used to be the norm.
You can read the full article on Punch. And go visit next time you’re in Paris!