Wine Vending Machines Make A Splash

There’s no stopping it. The new wine-pouring vending machines are making their way into New York bars and lounges.

“I thought it would really work very well in Ithaca with the lounge atmosphere and also being so close to so many vineyards,” said BJ Bliss, owner of Corks and More.
Bliss opened the lounge back in January and he says the computerized peddlers are a big hit.

“The response to the wine stations has been really positive. People are really engaged in being able to select their own wines,” said Bliss.

The machines pour 40 different wines, some from right here in the Finger Lakes. Prices range from a seventy-five cent taste to full glasses costing more than $50.
“Rather than buying an entire bottle or buying a full glass at another restaurant and taking one sip and saying ‘Wow, I don’t like that,’ now they have the ability to get just a one ounce taste,” Bliss said.

The machines might seem intimidating at first, but there’s really nothing to it. You just take your debit card, which you fill up at the front desk, choose a wine and then decide between a taste, half or full.
But these are no simple machines.

“They’re all individually climate controlled, temperature controlled, humidity and they’re run off of an argon gas system, which preserves the wine upwards of 60 days,” Bliss said.

“It’s a different venue completely than a winery in which you get the interaction. You get the explanations about the wine and a lot of conversation,” said Nancy Battistella.

The gadgets may be a bit high-tech for traditional vineyards, but even wine makers can see the appeal.

“You get to try many wines that you may otherwise not be able to,” Battistella said. “And it’s a very fun experience.”

Batistella says the machines allow more people to experience more wines and in the end, that’s good for everyone.