St Patricks Day may have come and gone, but it got us thinking here at the Ideal Wine Company blog about the small but complex Irish wine making tradition. It may not be well known, but that certainly doesn’t mean you should underestimate it. So what do you need to know about the Irish wine growing tradition?
There was recently a piece in Forbes advocating that instead of downing emerald-tinted Guinness, St Patrick’s Day celebrants should turn to drinking red wine. The author of the piece argued that the ‘warm and convivial’ nature of the Irish soul was perfectly reflected in red wine.
It was an eloquent point, and anybody who has ever visited the emerald isle would attest to the fact that its people are warm, friendly and know how to throw a good party. However, the author then went on to talk about American reds.
We believe the author completely missed an opportunity here to educate people about the Irish wine making tradition. Make no mistake, it really is very small – that’s why we don’t feature any Irish wines on the Ideal Wine Company product list- but it is there and you can find some amazing vintages from vineyards on the emerald isle.
Ireland is far more known for the whiskeys it produces – Irish whiskeys are world famous – and that overshadows any interest in the wine making tradition. Most Irish wine making is centred on vineyards in the County Cork region in the South West of Ireland. However wine is also produced in Lusk, North County Dublin.
History suggests that the first people to ever settle the island migrated from Iberia after the most recent ice age, and it took a lot longer until wine was brought over. Records suggest that the Irish wine making tradition goes as far back as the 5th Century AD, when the population was converted to Christianity.
This is another example of the role Christianity played in the early modern wine making culture of the world. From the 5th Century onwards, monks produced wine in the Cistercian monastery in County Kilkenny, which spread to other monastic communities.
Today Ireland is listed as a wine making country by the European commission and modern vineyards such as Blackwater Valley and Longueville House produce some of the finest wines, of both red and white variety, that you will ever taste.
At the Ideal Wine Company we know that it is a small thing, but the Irish wine making tradition is worthy of attention none the less. It’s as old as almost any other on the continent and you can get true quality in the wines produced on the emerald isle.