Machine Love

By Ashley Gartland December 17, 2008 Published in the November 2008 issue of Seattle Met

Bin Vivant, Kirkland’s much-buzzed-about wine bar, is so vinocentric, chefs designed the food menu around sommelier Dawn Smith’s wine list. Cool as that was, Smith, formerly of Canlis, says the most exciting thing about her new job is a supersleek, Italian apparatus called the Enomatic Wine Preservation System.

This computerized wine dispenser—mounted on the wall to display the bottles handsomely—meters out exact pours and then preserves open bottles with argon, an odorless, nontoxic gas often used for insulation. Because wine can generally be kept for up to 30 days after opening, the restaurant is able to offer a whopping 72 wines by the glass or ounce. Smith simply programs her Eno to pour one-, three-, and six-ounce tastes from each slotted bottle, then lets the machine lure in curious sippers. “Visually, it’s stunning,” she says. “It becomes a focal point in the restaurant, and creates the opportunity for guest-server interaction surrounding wine.”

Bin Vivant didn’t introduce the $126,000 system to Seattle—that honor goes to the owners of the Local Vine wine bar in Belltown. But Smith is sure glad her employer followed suit: Aside from luring tasters, the Enomatic’s by-the-glass capacities allow Smith to buy small lots of unique wines that wouldn’t be cost effective under a traditional wine program. “It has made all things possible,” the sommelier swoons.

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