About Me

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Dublin, Ireland
Hi, I'm a Master of Wine (MW) having passed in 1997. I am about to open a wine shop in DĂșn Laoghaire, Ireland, called The Wine Library and this is my wine blog. There should be no conflict of interest between my work with The Wine Library and the opinions expressed herein but I will do my utmost to be fair and responsible in my posts – please read my Who Pays article. I have worked in wine education, retail, and consultancy. From June 2013 until May 2017 I was the Retail Manager for The Wicklow Wine Company. I was a member of the Council of the Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) from 2008 to 2014 and was also a member of the Events, Trips and Governance Committees Having had problems with potentially libellous comments from unidentifiable posters, I now require that if you post a comment, you must identify yourself properly or it won't be published. Please note that I do not review products or services on request so kindly don't ask. I value my independence and I believe my readers (few that they may be) do so also.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Cost of wine follow-ups

I saw a recent post in Harpers Online about the BBC Watchdog programme in which the redoubtable Oz Clarke attacked the so-called bargain prices available in many supermarkets. So I decided to look back at some of my posts on this topic, including one from January 3rd, 2011, where I highlighted certain "bargains" available in Tesco. It's worth noting that Elizabeth seems to be on half-price even now, nearly 2 years later!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The downslide...

Yesterday's Budgetary increase in duty on wine made me pause for thought. This is a summary what I thought: over the past year the wine retail sector has seen a reduction in gross profit of 28% and yesterday's duty increase could make that 42% in 2 years. How? Read on...

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Sad news...

Sad news today that Nick Baile MW died yesterday. Nick founded Oddbins a long time ago and was one of the old guard of the IMW, having passed in 1961. I met Nick a few times and always found him a good person to be sitting beside at dinner.
This brings our number back down to 312. By the way, the number of "Irish" MWs grows - this year we have two from Northern Ireland, Barry Dick MW and Ann McHale MW.
So far the "Irish" are:
Robin Kinahan (N.I.), Alan Crowley (R.O.I.), Martin Moran (U.K.), Dermot Nolan (R.O.I.), Jane Boyce (N.I.), Carmel Kilcline (R.O.I.), Fergal Tynan (R.O.I.), Mary Gorman-McAdams (R.O.I.), Barry Dick (N.I.) and Ann McHale (N.I.): 10 in total with 6 men and 4 women.

Friday, September 6, 2013

312 and counting

Great news today from the Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) announcing 8 new Masters of Wine (MWs) bringing this year's passes up to 11 in total. Included are the first Turkish MW, Ms Dilek Caner MW working in the US as well two other Irish MWs, Mr Barry Dick MW from Northern Ireland and Ms Ann McHale MW, also from Northern Ireland. Good news too in that Lynne Coyle, the head buyer for O'Brien's Fine Wines, has now one step left, the Dissertation, so I hope all will join in congratulating those who passed and encouraging Lynne for next year.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Is lean really good?

I was recently sent 11 wines from the Rias Baixas region of Spain by the Spanish economic and Commercial Office to review but i'm not sure that my opinions will be welcome. All the wines are commercially available in the Irish market and they retail from €15.50 to €29.00. Overall, I had expected that these would be lovely, especially in this current heat wave but sadly this was not the case.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Sad news

The Drinks Business has a small piece about the death of Peter Lehmann who was one of the biggest characters in the Australian wine industry over the last 40 years. He single-handedly saved a lot of small growers from financial ruin in the early 1980s and was a champion of Barossa semillon - his top wine, Margaret, is a gorgeous wine.
Also, Wine Australia have decided to close their Irish operation, run so well by John McDonnell. When John returned to Ireland in the early 1990s we were the 5th biggest market for Australian wine and Australian wine had a far higher percentage of the market here than in the UK. Now we are far less important and so John's services are no longer required. Shame.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Devastation in Vouvray

There is a shocking picture in Decanter's report of today's violent hail storms which have caused very serious damage. Given that growers in Muscadet are still struggling with the effects of the 2008 frost this type of damage, coming after a short year in 2012 and coupled with the overall lateness of the season this year, could be fatal for some growers.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Some sad news

I am sorry to say that I received news today that John Taylor MW passed away on Friday last. John was a keen Arsenal fan (which I did not hold against him!) and a really nice character. He became an MW 41 years ago and his passing reduces the number of active MWs to 303 (Thanks to Siobhan Turner for the correction).

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Change of circumstance

On Saturday next, the 1st of June, I start a new position as Retail Store Manager for the Wicklow Wine Company. I will be blogging on their site as well as here but rest assured that I will declare, on both blogs, any conflict of interest should it arise.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Going, going...

Wow - there is an article today by James Halliday about a wine auction to be held in order to raise funds for the Len Evans Foundation. If i had the money I'd go and bid as there some fantastic wines on offer, as well as an amazing dinner featuring a series of Domaine de la Romanee Conti La Tache, all donated by the redoubtable Mr Halliday. He's a great raconteur and that would be some evening. Droool!

Slovenian follow-up

Just a brief post to say that the Celtic Whiskey Shop have started importing the Dveri Pax range of wines as a result of the excellent tasting hosted by Cabot & Co. a few months ago. Their Pinot Gris, which I retatsed a week or so ago, is yummy but I'm not sure which wines are being brought in.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Slovenian rhapsody

On Tuesday 5th February a tasting of Slovenian wines was hosted in Dublin by Liam and Sinead Cabot, and a very good tasting it was too. This is not the first time that such a tasting has been held here but it is a brave step for a small importer to take and I commend Liam and Sinead for doing this, especially in these tough times. Most of the wines shown would retail around €15 so these are in the top 5% or less of all retail wine sales in Ireland! However, for those adventurous souls willing to experiment there are great rewards ahead.