Tapping into sustainability

RM Seafood executive chef Rick Moonen, who has long been on the forefront of sustainability and reducing waste in his restaurant, has recently incorporated a new way to serve wine at his seafood eatery. It’s a system that delivers wine in a lightweight, recyclable keg composed of three parts: a cardboard outer shell that surrounds a CO2 bladder, which compresses an inner bag containing the wine. The CO2 never comes into contact with the wine, thus maintaining its integrity.

“The thing that Rick was really turned on by was, there’s a lot of bottles that are thrown away, wine labels, corks, packaging, shipping,” wine director Terry O’Neil says of the system, developed by KeyKeg, a European keg manufacturer. And with KeyKeg, “it is all greatly reduced. The fact that this is a sustainable way of serving wine was a huge motivation for putting this system in. The savings is built-in, and we’re passing it onto the guest. We’re not doing it for the motivation of making more money.”

RM Seafood offers two sustainable, organic wines: Long Gamma Red, which boasts a nose of wild raspberries and strawberries and a smoky, peppery taste, and Iberian Remix albariño, a light, fruity white from Edna Valley, Calif., that “makes a great pairing with the kind of cuisine we sell here, all the clams, mussels, lobster, crab,” O’Neil says. “It’s a little off the beaten path, but I like to offer alternative selections to the norm.”

Each keg holds about 26 bottles of wine, helping to reduce space, and if all goes well, O’Neil says Moonen may replace the whole bar with the KeyKeg system. “It’s just a better way to serve wine.” O’Neil says. “From what I’m seeing, what I’m tasting and what I’m getting from the final product, it just makes sense to serve wine in a system like this.”