About Me

My photo
Dublin, Ireland
Hi, I'm Dermot Nolan, and I became a Master of Wine (MW) in 1997, and resigned from the Institute of Masters of Wine in 2023 after being an MW for exactly 26 years. I opened a wine shop in Dún Laoghaire, Ireland, called The Wine Library, which closed in 2018, and this is my personal wine blog. I will do my utmost to be fair and responsible in my posts – please read my Who Pays article in re the ethics of wine trips and writing. I have worked in wine education, retail, and consultancy since 1990. I was a Director of the Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) from 2008 to 2014 and was also a member of the Events Committee, founder of the Trips Committee, and member of the Governance Committee. 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, August 31, 2011

Brilliant visual aid...

I just saw this on Tyler Coleman's blog (Dr Vino) - a great map of the French wine regions styled like a metro map! It looks good and is fairly inexpensive! Check it out.

Some interesting scientific news

A new report from the Federal Center for Disease Control in the US is worth reading - it identifies moderate alcohol consumption as one of four pillars towards a healthier lifestyle and reduced mortality. Specifically, when combined with healthy eating, regular exercise and never having smoked, moderate alcohol consumption offered the greatest benefit!
Also of interest is research in Australia suggesting that the use of sulphur actually helps grape berries improve their own defence system. Potentially, this could mean that less sulphur could be used but that great benefits will accrue. There is still a lot of work to be done, however.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A good response

Today VinPro, the South African grapegrower association, released a response to the recent Human Rights Watch report on condition on South African fruit farms. I think it's a pretty good response, pointing out some anomalies in the HRW report but also promising to come down heavily on any farm which is identified as behaving improperly.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The other side of the coin?

Human Rights Watch has just published a report, Ripe with Abuse, on conditions pertaining on South African fruit farms. It's well worth reading as it outlines many of the serious issues affecting workers' conditions in South Africa. There are some aspects I would quibble with (I've never seen toilets or hand washing facilities in any vineyard, European or otherwise; South African wine farmers use very few pesticides although I don't know about the table fruit industry) but it is a pretty unsettling document.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Love of the sea

I am currently in South africa judging at the Michelangelo CCL international Wine Awards and decided to take the chance to visit Chris Williams, the current head wine maker at Meerlust. With me was one of my fellow judges, Guiseppe Rizzardi of the Guerrieri Rizzardi Estate in Verona. Meerlust means love of the sea, hence the title!

Black and white views

I am frequently told that I can be too dogmatic about things, that I see things in “black and white”. Well, here’s a tale that is black and white. On a recent visit to a wine farm near Stellenbosch we were told by the owner that his parents had been attacked on the farm. His father was in bed, his mother sleeping in front of the television when she was woken by the dogs barking. She opened the door to see what was the matter, and a number of men rushed in. They demanded to know where her husband was and, on being told, dragged him downstairs and then told him that if he did not co-operate they would kill his wife. They made off with some money and jewellery but not much more as an alarm had been triggered.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Small world, this wine world. Just on the phone to IMW executive office today in re AGM in September and was casually told that Richard Kelley MW, one of my mates from the great class of 1993, has apparently left Richards Walford, a company for whom he has worked for a great many years. It's a real shame - even though he's only been there since the mid-2000s you'd think he was a permanent fixture.