The Wineries of Ireland
It wasn’t that long ago that finding a winery in the Emerald Isle was impossible. When I visited Ireland in 1996, I searched high and low for any trace of grapes, but was told that the only vineyards were small, personal ones of but a few vines. My attempts to do themed articles for St Patrick’s day had me fall back on my favorite ‘other drink’, Bailey’s.
No more! The European Commission has now officially listed Ireland as a wine producing country! The Irish tend to produce white wines, but also make a few reds. The vineyards are clustered around Cork, in the southwest corner of the island.
One of the first wineries is at the site of Bunratty Castle. The coach houses there were restored in 1979, and it is in one of them that Bunratty Mead is made. Mead is a honey wine, and can be made in many different styles. In addition to the wine, the winery also has a display on the history of alcohol in Ireland, including a Poteen still!
The Blackwater Valley Vineyard is located in Mallow, with five acres of vines. Even smaller is the Longueville House vineyard, also in Mallow. This is a mere 1.1 acres of vines, including Muller Thurgau and Reichensteiner, made into wine just for the restaurant. In Kinsale you can find the Thomas Walk Vineyard.