If you ask Rion Austin for his “20”—meaning, of course, his location—he will proudly tell you that his NorCal-based “premium wine-on-demand” company The20 (The20Wines.com) is now fully operational in Las Vegas.
Restaurants can sign up to serve boutique, small-production West Coast wines from The20’s 9-liter cask system, which functions much like a wine-on-tap setup but uses gravity (as with a bag-in-box) rather than inert gasses to move the wine from the eco-friendly bota (“wineskin”) to the glass. Wine enthusiasts can buy a handmade 3-liter system (in luxe red oak for $300 or the more wallet-friendly “Lite” for $40) to have at home, with wines delivered right to their door. This affordable luxury was still pending state approval when Vegas Seven consulted with Austin about the rise of premium boxed wines for its inaugural Wine Issue (“It’s in the Bag,” March 31).
“We got official approval from the great state of Nevada in early May,” Austin reports. It was very important to Austin that Nevada be among the seven states The20 serves. “People go to Vegas for fine dining and great wine,” he says. “The20 can enable restaurants to provide these eager customers with more options for fantastic artisan wines by the glass, and do so in a more environmentally friendly way.”
As for the rest of us, “Vegas locals are surrounded by the best every day, and The20 will help bring the best of West Coast artisan wine directly to their homes.” Why call this system “The20”?
“Location is a huge part of the wine experience,” Austin explains. “You have so many different factors that can put their fingerprint onto the wine.” Those factors range from soil type to how the grapes were picked. And the beauty of these permutations can be enjoyed by those seeking quality and access to wines of the West that normally don’t make it to wine lists, let alone to today’s obligatory by-the-glass list.
Having planted a flag in the desert, The20 is already moving on to conquer its next bureaucratic frontier. So look out, Virginia, here comes Austin!