With St Patrick’s Day just around the corner, if you’re not fond of a Guinness or a whiskey, why not reach for a delicious glass of Irish Wine?
“Irish Wine?!”, I hear you say? Indeed. Whilst Ireland may not be famed for its fine wine – in fact you can count the number of wineries in Ireland on one hand, or maybe even one finger – (Lusca a small vineyard just north of Dublin produces the only wine in Ireland, bottling a tiny total production of around 350 bottles per year) – there are a vast many wineries worldwide run by Irish descendants.
Those that have left Ireland and have become involved in the wine trade in other countries are collectively known as ‘Wine Geese’, a term that lays its origin with the common day reference of ‘Wild Geese’ – this being the movement of Irish emigrants, most notably those that moved to continental Europe during the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.
So, with ‘Wine Geese’ having settled in all far flung corners of the globe including some of the big wine producers such as France, Australia, Chile and New Zealand, it is not surprising that some of the most notable wineries in other countries have a distinct Irish heritage.
In France, one such Wine Geese family were the MacCarthy’s, formerly of County Cork, who settled near Bordeaux in the late 1600s, along with other noble Irishmen such as the Lynchs, the Clarkes and the Dillons, who all went on to play very important roles in the development of France’s wine industry. Today, some of the most notable Irish wineries within France owe their names to these Wine Geese such as Chateau Lynch-Bages, Chateau Phelan-Segur, Chateau Kirwan and Chateau Dillon Margaux – all producers of highly acclaimed wines.
In the United States, it’s reputed that the oldest running winery is the Concannon Vineyards, run by an Irish family of the same name that also happen to own the Glen Ellen winery in BLAH (that we’ve been told bottles a delightful white zinfandel). In addition, in California the Irish descendants of the Barret family own Chateau Motelana, which lays claim to fame as the winner of the famous Paris 1976 wine contest that put Californian wines on the map so to speak. Sullivan Vineyards in Napa as well as both the Sequoia Vineyards and Murphy-Good are run by Wine Geese families.
Even our cousins down under in Australia have their fair share of Wine Geese. In a region in South Australia called Clare Valley, named after County Clare in Ireland, the world famous Shiraz ‘Armagh’ is produced by the Barry family (Jim Barry winery) and in New South Wales in the Mount Pleasant Winery run by the O’Shea family and in Western Australia the Leewin Estate run by the Horgan family.
So this year, on 17th March, if Guinness (green or otherwise) just isn’t your thing, then why not try sampling an Irish wine instead – coupled of course with one of our very own Green WineWeaver wine aerators…