Now, the art of the grape may not be what we are best known for (common associations include poor weather, Guinness and potatoes). So it’s a surprise to some that the European Commission considers Ireland a “wine-making country.”
Indeed, Ireland is home to a handful of small vineyards which all produce home-grown grapes for the most popular Irish wines on the market.
Most of these vineyards are in County Cork, far North of the usual wine regions. Although our weather is less favourable than that of Italy or France (both big wine-making countries), it seems our fertile soils and mystic lands ensure top-quality grapes.
We’re going to take you through our favourite Irish wine producers but first…
A Small Dose of History:
Though many dispute the history of Ireland’s wine production, there are definite records of Celtic monks first laying vineyards, in an attempt to make wine, in the 5th Century. However, contradicting reports suggest earlier attempts date back to the 12th Century. Either way, it is safe to say, wine cultivating in Ireland is not a new trend.
Now, here’s the top five Irish wine producers from the Emerald Isle!
5. David Dennison
David Dennison is a small-scale Irish wine-making enthusiast, based out of County Waterford. The farm, located in the South West of Ireland is family-run and also home to a small cider orchard.
The concept behind David Dennison’s business is small-scale equals artisan produce. It’s clearly fuelled by love and passion as opposed to mass-marketing and gross sales.
There is little to be known about the business online unless you follow Dennison’s Twitter, where they post weekly photos straight from the farm. The vineyard has been known to have as much as 2,700 plants of grapes, including Rondo (red), Solaris and Bacchus (white) and Pinot Noir.
Top marks go for their “all natural approach” too as everything is organic and unsprayed.
Where: @Dennisons_Farm / Twitter
4. Thomas Walk Winery
Located near Kinsale in County Cork, Thomas Walk Winery is owned and run by German wine-lover, Thomas Walk. Having been in production since the 1980s, this is one of Ireland’s longer-standing operating orchards.
Organic, natural and environmentally-friendly business practices are at the heart of this winery.
Although Walk has always kept this personal passion on the DL, wine-enthusiasts can purchase bottles of his produce online via his website.
Walk has specialised in varieties of the rondo (red wine) grape and has won a tonne of awards for doing so.
Where: Thomas Walk Winery
3. Bunratty Mead
This Irish drink is one of the oldest forms of wine known to man. It is inherently associated with the mystical lands of Ireland and has deep roots in Irish myth and legends.
The monks first discovered the drink in the middle ages. It’s made by mixing grapes off the vine, honey and herbs which gives the drink an alluring aroma.
It’s said a newly-wed couple would drink the honey-sweetened Mead for “one full moon” after their wedding to adopt its magical powers of fertility and virility – hence the term “honeymoon”!
This old-school wine is produced today by Bunratty Mead and Liqueur Co. (who also produce Potcheen) in County Clare. It’s also sold in stores and online by the Celtic Whiskey Shop.
Where: The Celtic Whiskey Shop
2. Móinéir Fine Irish Fruit Wines
The award-winning Wicklow Way Wines is an Irish winery and home to Móinéir Fine Irish Fruit Wines in County Wicklow (also known as “the Garden of Ireland”).
Móinéir Fine Irish Fruit Wines are made from 100% Irish produce, grown on the local lands of Ireland’s countryside. Available in strawberry, raspberry and blackberry flavour, these fruity wines are bursting with taste and delicate aromas.
Wicklow Way Wines are proud members of Bord Bia’s Origin Green incentive which promotes sustainable and environmentally-friendly business practices. Móinéir wines can be purchased on their website, as well as in speciality retailers and restaurants across the country.
Where: Wicklow Way Wines
1. Lusca Irish Wines
Lusca Irish Wines come from Llewellyns Orchard, a small-scale winery run by fruit alchemist David Llewellyn in Lusk, County Dublin.
Since their launch in 2002, the private orchard has now grown to produce balsamic apple cider vinegar, cider vinegar, apple syrup, craft cider and apple juice; as well as wine from Irish grapes, sold under the Lusca brand.
The offering consists of reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Dunkelfelder and Rondo. Lusca wines can be purchased at a select number of specialist wine cellars in Ireland (see website for more details).
Where: Lusca Irish Wine, Llewellyns Orchard