About Me

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Dublin, Ireland
Hi, I'm a Master of Wine (MW) having passed in 1997. 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.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Thank you so very much....

A trip like this is a costly thing, for all concerned. Every MW on the trip paid GBP 750 to be there as well as flights to and from Australia. Our sponsors in Australia all paid varying sums of money to cover wines, venues, food etc. There’s also the cost of time off work and away from family. Since we have paid we have a right to be critical of the wines we taste and what we hear but that in no way diminishes our gratitude to our hosts. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

When you’re in the dark don’t strike a match

In which I explain my views on some trends and why they may not be important.
Along the way we were given a list of new trends, which was essentially a buzzword bingo lexicon. Cooler sites, early picking, natural acidity, good sulfites, reductive handling, struck match and so on – a range of phrases representing the current trends in relation to new wine styles in Australia.

Monday, October 5, 2015

At last we're on duty...

The Institute of Masters of Wine Australia Trip 2015 started off on a lovely Sunday morning with breakfast at the Sydney Opera house.

The views are stunning and we were treated to a lovely breakfast there, some scene-setting presentations and then a range of tastings designed to show, as briefly as possible, what Australia is all about.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

A good start is...

So, once breakfast and emails etc were done and dusted I met up with a good mate ad the day started with a Jasper Hill George's Paddock 2004 and a J. J. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Spatlese 2004. Mmmm both seriously good. From there on to a great bottle shop called 5 Ways to taste some yummy Yarra whites and reds.
From there onto The Waterman's in Pott's Point for lobster rolls and an interesting roussanne and a funky nebbiolo, before moving to Aki's for some gorgeous indian food (goat curry) with a Tassie sparkler and a Gamay!
Along the way some lovely beers and great chat. Honestly, it is work...

Thursday, October 1, 2015

How many Hawaiian shirts can you pack?

#MWOz2015 - well, the trip has started as I type this little piece in the departures lounge of Dublin airport on a beautifully sunny day. The suitcase is full of Hawaiian shirts (the dress code is smart casual) and we have a breakfast alert: the trip starts with a 6 course breakfast at the Sydney Opera House at 08:30 Sydney time. Which means a lot of disappointed English MWs having to taste fine Australian wine on the day they exit the Rugby World Cup! Unless, of course, they can win...

Friday, September 25, 2015

Countdown to Australia

On the 1st of October 2015 yours truly will get on a Qantas plane and fly to Sydney. Why? Because I'm taking part in the Institute of Masters of Wine's Australia Trip. This is an intense, hectic trip, more or less non-stop for 12 days - you can view the itinerary to see exactly how gruelling it will be. Cricket on the beach? That's the way you do it, wine for nothing and your wines for free...

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Exercised about Excise...

The June 2015 issue of Shelflife has an article which claims that "Irish wine consumers pay 624% more excise than their fellow Europeans". Now claims like this are always sensational, especially when used to back up a case - assuming, of course, that the figure is correct. Which it is, isn't it?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Let's keep Good Friday good!

To start, let me remind all my readers that this is my personal blog and represents my opinions only. I heard a part of an interview on Good Friday last between Mr Adrian Cummins of the Restaurant Association of Ireland (RAI) and one of the lunchtime news presenters on RTÉ Radio 1. Mt Cummins was presenting a case for the removal of the ban on selling alcohol on Good Friday; when the presenter pointed out “You’ll make the money yesterday and tomorrow, won’t you?”