• Meet the Competitors Best Sommelier in Ireland Competition 2020

    Irish Guild of Sommeliers Best Sommelier in Ireland Competition 2020

    Competition Venue & address: Whelehans Wines, The Silver Tassie, Bray Rd, Loughlinstown, Co. Dublin, D18 VK37

    Date of competition: Sunday 16th August, 2020

    Anke Carmen Hartmann

    Andrzej Dasiak,Hodson Bay Hotel Athlone, Co. Westmeath

    Hodson Bay Hotel | LinkedIn

    Daniel Stojcic, NOBLE. Holywood, Co. Down

  • Best Sommelier in Ireland Competition Sunday 16th August, 2020

    Best Sommelier in Ireland Competition 2020
    Date: Sunday
    16th August, 2020
    Whelehans Wines, The Silver Tassie, Bray Rd, Loughlinstown, Co. Dublin, D18VK37

    Sponsors of the Competition

    Whelehans Wines & Kitchen Drive Thru The Silver Tassie, Bray Rd, Loughlinstown, Co. Dublin, D18 VK37

    A thrilling Wine Warehouse, an award winning Wine Restaurant, a state of the art Wine School, a Wholesale & Corporate Gift business and of course an online facility

    Entrance to Wine Shop - Picture of Whelehans Wines, Dublin ...Whelehans Wines

    Veuve Clicquot

    Established in 1772, Champagne House Veuve Cliquot blends wines from as many as 50 to 60 different vineyard locations. They are well-known for their high-quality Pinot Noir which dominates their blend at around 55%. The Pinot Noir gives structure and richness, the Chardonnay gives elegance and the Meunier rounds off the palate.
    Veuve Clicquot Vintage - SPARKLING | O'Briens Wine


    Expect the Unexpected: Brilliant tasting from GrapeCircus and ...


    Nomad Wine Importers LTD was created in 2007 by two Sommeliers with a view to offering the Irish Market some of the best wines from France at the right price. Thierry Grillet (Former Head Sommelier – Restaurant Girardet – 3 Michelin Stars – Swiss) and Charles Derain (Former Head Sommelier – Restaurant P. Guilbaud – 2 Michelin Stars – Ireland) have joined their efforts in making this venture. Their knowledge, experience and network in the wine industry helped them to establish this company.


    A relationship built on knowledge and trust. We have selected our producers carefully and we work closely with them to offer some of the best wines from France in the Irish Market. We give our customers wines of high purity and great honesty – even in their simplicity – we always look for a style of wine who has precision and definition. As expert Sommelier, we are constantly thinking about food and wine pairing. Our selection will always give a nice support to the chef’s dishes, bring pleasure and joy. The full spectrum of our portfolio is built to reach that goal, from our entry level to our high-end.
    Nomad Wine Importers represents the trust link between the producers and the consumers.





    Donegal distillery fills its first cask with a peated single malt new-make spirit
    The resurgent Irish whiskey industry has a new feather in its cap with the announcement that
    Donegal is once again distilling whiskey. In the shadow of the imposing mountain of Sliabh Liag, a
    double distilled smoky spirit made from Irish peated malt has been filled into a first fill bourbon oak
    cask by Sliabh Liag Distillers (SLD). It is the first time since the closure of Burt Distillery in 1841 that
    legal whiskey distillation has taken place in Donegal.
    The small-batch production at its Carrick facility will help the company’s founders and distillers,
    James and Moira Doherty, undertake valuable research and development while the business’s new
    whiskey distillery at Ardara is under construction. The timing also marks an important period in
    Sliabh Liag Distillery’s history as it prepares for a crowd-funding launch on Wednesday 26 th August to
    help raise €1.5m of capital for the new distillery.
    Commenting on the landmark occasion, James Doherty, SLD Founder, said: “We’ve done it! It’s only
    now that the first cask is filled, ready to mature into a smoky single malt Irish whiskey that we feel
    we’ve really returned to Donegal. When Moira and I moved back here in 2014, it was with the
    dream of reigniting the county’s distilling heritage, and with the Crolly and Baoilleach distilleries, the
    county is getting there. Our new spirit smells lovely and drinks even better; it is soft and smoky
    sweet with a fresh pear note and a hint of treacle.”
    “While the success of our An Dúlamán gin and Silkie and Dark Silkie blended Irish whiskeys has been
    rewarding”, James says, “the distilling genes in me knew this scatterling’s return wouldn’t be
    complete without an Irish malt flowing from the stills. While Burt Distillery ceased production in
    1841, we know illegal distilling continued during the intermittent years, not least by my grandfather
    who was creating a smoky, double distilled spirit under the authorities’ radar on the hills ‘up the
    glen’ in Kilcar. I think my grandfather would approve that we are now distilling the first legal whiskey
    in Donegal for nearly 200 years, and there’s a lovely sense of coming full circle.” James added.
    “There has been a fair amount of blood, sweat and tears to get to this point – especially last week in
    hand-mashing 500L of wort for brewing – but it’s given us a huge lift as we embark on the next stage

    in both our and Donegal’s history. Turf has been turned at the site of the Ardara Distillery and we
    launch our fundraising exercise on Crowd Cube in a few weeks’ time. Once we are up and running
    there, the future of Donegal Irish Whiskey will be even brighter.” James added.
    The new make spirit is exceptionally soft and is fresh, citrusy and has rich chocolate notes to
    complement the pronounced smoke. It has been made from Irish Craft Malts barley grown in Meath
    and some malted over peat from Mín na bhFachraín. The smoky profile of the spirit is true to what
    was being distilled in Ulster 200 years ago, and like the county itself, a contrast to the rest of Ireland
    in character.
    It was distilled twice in SLD’s copper pot still, known as Méabh. This first run of spirit has been filled
    into a first fill bourbon oak cask. The creation of the spirit was delayed from earlier this year when
    Sliabh Liag Distillers turned its focus to creating hand sanitizer for the local community during the
    early stages of the pandemic.
    When this very first whiskey is ready for bottling, it will give some indication of what James, Moira
    and the ‘meitheal’ (work-gang) around them aim to produce at Ardara Distillery. The hope is to
    make Donegal to Ireland what Islay is to Scotland.
    For further information, interview, crowd-funding investor prospectus and photography please contact:
    Mary Crawford, The Right Angle, 087 277 4739 or [email protected]
    Notes to Editors
     Sliabh Liag (pronounced ‘sleeve league’) Distillers is independently owned.
     SLD is committed to reclaiming the distilling heritage of Donegal. In addition to An Dúlamán Irish
    Maritime Gin, the company also produces the blended Silkie Irish Whiskey, Dark Silkie Irish Whiskey
    and Assaranca Vodka.
     SLD has begun construction of its new distillery at Ardara, co Donegal. The state-of-the-art facility will
    combine the latest distilling technology and a unique “all grains in” process with ancient Donegal
    distilling knowhow to create a whiskey unlike that found in the rest of Ireland.
     On Wednesday 26 th August, the company launches its €1.5m fundraising campaign on
    Crowdcube.com. (NB: it will not be live on the Crowdcube website before then.)

     Silkie, Dark Silkie, An Dúlamán and Assaranca are all distributed by Vine Distribution Services in the
    UK. Established in 2000, Vine Distribution Services (VDS UK Limited) are importers and distributors of
    premium drinks and other FMCG brands in the UK. Founded by Steve Brown and Paul Macgregor, VDS
    is a sales, marketing and distribution company that specialises in the development of premium
    alcoholic and non-alcoholic brands.

  • Best Sommelier in Ireland Competition 2020  

    Best Sommelier in Ireland Competition 2020


    Sunday 16th August, 2020


    Whelehans Wines, The Silver Tassie,

    Bray Rd, Loughlinstown, Co. Dublin, D18 VK37



  • Looking for a Hotel room in Dublin

    Looking for a Hotel room in Dublin ( free of charge) for 1 day (9am – 5pm) to run the Irish Guild of Sommeliers National Competition during the first half of August. Suggestions welcome??? .

    Contact   [email protected]


    [email protected]                      Julie Dupouy Young President Irish Guild of Sommeliers



    In a week that begins with World Ocean’s Day and ends with World Gin Day, a glass of An Dúlamán Irish Maritime Gin will help bring the magic of the sea to wherever you are in the world. If lockdown has you landlocked, this multi award-winning gin uses five locally harvested varieties of seaweed and six other botanicals, to harness what we would call in Irish ‘draíocht na farraige’ (the magic of the sea).

    Sliabh Liag Distillers’ Gin Distiller Moira Doherty has created a spirit as unique as the rugged Donegal coast that inspires it: “An Dúlamán is a gin born from its locality” Moira says. “The coast around the mighty sea cliffs of Sliabh Liag hold an extraordinary bounty for local sea foragers like us, who use centuries-old knowledge of harvesting and harnessing the qualities of natural seaweeds. For example, we can only harvest the tiny, shy pepper dulse seaweed that grows in the cracks and crevices of the rocky headlands when the moon is full and tides are at their lowest.”

    “Our customers appreciate the huge amount of consideration that has gone into crafting An Dúlamán. Due to the delicate nature of our botanicals sourced from the sea, we take an incredibly narrow cut of the distillate which helps the complex mix of flavours shine through at precisely the right levels. On the palate, there is soft bright juniper, which subsides as the complexity of An Dúlamán is revealed in rich umami, brisk salt and then a buttery oyster smoothness with hints of chestnut. Given time, sweet notes of peach and even Turkish Delight. The bottle is based upon those found along the Donegal coast after ships of the Spanish Armada were wrecked upon the rocks.” Moira added.

    An Dúlamán is produced in a single shot London dry style distillation on a custom built 500litre copper still, named Méabh (which means ‘she who intoxicates’). The still has a vapour extraction basket on the still lyne arm for placing the Carrageen moss seaweed into. Every bottle is filled, wax sealed and stamped by hand at the distillery.

    This World Gin Day, enjoy An Dúlamán with any premium tonic water; it works especially well with lemon tonic or bitter lemon. A dash of elderflower cordial and An Dúlamán topped up with soda water is a tasty alternative. Classic gin cocktails are a must try with An Dúlamán – such as the Negroni – the soft earthy tones of An Dúlamán stand up to the bitterness of Campari, and it makes a mighty martini, either bone dry or with a good splash of vermouth. An Dúlamán is available from the Sliabh Liag Distillers website and from most independent off-licences nationwide.

    Last year, Sliabh Liag Distillers also released An Dúlamán Santa Ana, Armada Strength Gin. This navy strength gin is aged in Rioja casks, imparting a slight sweetness and beautiful rose gold hue to the complex maritime notes of An Dúlamán. After aging, Santa Ana is bottled at navy strength of 57% ABV. Santa Ana is available from Master of Malt and Whisky Exchange at RRP €55, 50cl.


    Notes to Editors

    Sliabh Liag (pronounced ‘sleeve league’) Distillers is committed to reclaiming the distilling heritage of Donegal. In addition to An Dúlamán Irish Maritime Gin, the company also produces Silkie Irish Whiskey. Plans are also underway for a new distillery at Ardara, Co. Donegal.

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  • International Sommelier Day 3 June

    Dear friends and colleagues,

    You are hereby invited to take part in a toast to pay homage to sommeliers across the world, the date is:

    Wednesday June 3rd 

    International Sommelier Day was established in Mexico in 2013 by a group of enthusiastic sommeliers to celebrate our profession. The date of June 3rd was chosen as it is the same date that ASI was established back in 1969.

    In an effort to join our forces globally ASI is hosting an online Zoom-toast. To ensure that we gather as many somms as possible three sessions will be conducted throughout the day. Each session will be hosted by one of the Vice Presidents of ASI with prominent guests such as Best Sommeliers of the World and Continental Sommelier Champions.

    Vice President of Asia & Oceania, Saiko Tamura-Soga, will host the first session at 1pm in Tokyo – register here

    Vice President of Europe, William Wouters, will host the second session at noon in Belgium – register here

    Vice President of the Americas, Ricardo Grellet, will host the third session at 2pm in Chile – register here

    Everyone joining is encouraged to bring a bottle of wine for the toast as you introduce yourselves during the session.

    Please share this invitation with all the somms in your community. We can’t wait to see you all on Wednesday June 3rd!

    Register here to join ASI on International Sommelier Day
    All the best and stay safe and healthy,

    Liora Levi
    [email protected]
    Head of Media and Communications

    Michèle Aström Chântome
    [email protected]
    Secretary General ASI
    Director PR, Communication & Marketing

  • Profile of members – Irish Guild of Sommeliers

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    Anke Hartmann Irish Guild of Sommeliers Member
    “Anke is originally from Germany, she caught the wine bug whilst training as a chef in Germany at the end of the ’90s.
    In 2002 she took the chance to train as a Sommelier in Chewton Glen one of the ultimate luxurious Hotels in the UK with an exclusive Wine Cellar . Since then her passion for wine carved her path, working in high-end establishments in Switzerland, Germany and finally Ireland in 2008 playing her part in opening the Cliffhouse Hotel in Ardmore. Anke has been educating wine enthusiasts in WSET levels for the Dublin Bar Academy and set up The Lamplight Wine Bar & Merchants in Clifden, Connemara together with her Partner in 2019”


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    Niav McNamara Irish Guild of Sommeliers Member
    Having worked as a chemistry teacher for many years, I changed path to enjoy working with wine, having completed WSET Diploma in 2004. Worked in Shiel’s Londis off-licence from early 2000’s to 2019, also hosted food & wine matching evenings, presented wine tasting classes.
    Started working in Clontarf Wines, with James Tobin & Helena Caraher end November 2019, a small, perfectly formed wine shop!
    My favourite thing is to head to France on the ferry, with my tent & car, to explore a wine area. Favourite area of discovery so far: Côtes Catalanes.


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    Image may contain: 2 people, text that says "IrishGuildSommeliers @IrishGuildSomm 1m Welcome Jurate Kanisauskiene to the IGS family!Jurate is originally from Lithuania & has been living in Ireland since 2004. Her passion for wine was born in 2011 thanks to French born Wine Guru Alain Bras. F&B manager @killarneyoaks, Jurate is studying for her WSET level 3. 山"

    Image may contain: ‎1 person, ‎text that says "‎בt You Retweeted IrishGuildSommeliers @IrishGuildSomm Apr 18 A Warm welcome @KillianEimear to the IGS family!GM of @BrasserieGalway since 2012 Eimear is native of Co.Meath but now call Galway home.She has held various managerial roles in hotels hotels over the past 20 years.She holds the WSET Level 3 & enjoy changing her extensive wine list often 27 山‎"‎‎

    Image may contain: 1 person, text


    Niav McNamara Irish Guild of Sommeliers Member
    Having worked as a chemistry teacher for many years, I changed path to enjoy working with wine, having completed WSET Diploma in 2004. Worked in Shiel’s Londis off-licence from early 2000’s to 2019, also hosted food & wine matching evenings, presented wine tasting classes.

    Started working in Clontarf Wines, with James Tobin & Helena Caraher end November 2019, a small, perfectly formed wine shop!
    My favourite thing is to head to France on the ferry, with my tent & car, to explore a wine area. Favourite area of discovery so far: Côtes Catalanes.
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    Ian Fitzpatrick – I’m the Sommelier at Allta in Dublin. I previously worked at Adare Manor Hotel as the Junior Sommelier. I’m currently studying for WSET Level 3 and hope to go on to CMS after.

    My twitter handle is @IanFitzpatrick3 and Allta’s is @Alltawinebar

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    Rory Conniffe Irish Guild of Sommeliers Member
    Rory Conniffe is a Sommelier living in Belfast and working in the north of Iceland. Following graduation from Trinity College Dublin, he was first bitten by the wine bug in 2012 working at a fine dining steakhouse in Chicago. Despite returning to a Masters and burgeoning career in Business Consultancy, he couldn’t quite shake the feeling that wine might be more than a hobby and signed up to the WSET’s entry level courses. In July 2017, having just passed the WSET Level 3 and the Certified Sommelier exam with the Court of Master Sommeliers, he went all in – joining the Sommelier team of Michael Deane’s Michelin star restaurant EIPIC. In 2019 he passed the WSET Diploma and accepted the position of Head Sommelier at Deplar Farm in Iceland. He is currently preparing to pursue higher wine certification, participate in his first Sommelier competition and expand his professional repertoire to include writing and teaching.
    Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/emerald_somm/
    Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/rory.conniffe
    LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/…/rory-conniffe-dipwset-deplar-fa…/
    Twitter – https://twitter.com/RConniffe


  • Sliabh Liag Distillers Reveals a Darker Side with The Legendary Dark Silkie

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    Sliabh Liag Distillers Reveals a Darker Side with The Legendary Dark Silkie

    Ahead of World Whiskey Day this Saturday, Sliabh Liag Distillers has released The Legendary Dark Silkie Irish Whiskey, a blend of carefully selected Irish Whiskeys which will reintroduce drinkers to the rich smoky peated Irish Whiskey. The release follows on from the success of the distillery’s Legendary Silkie Irish Whiskey.

    Sliabh Liag Distillers has taken a bold step with Dark Silkie in recreating the taste of Donegal whiskey in the 19th century. James Doherty, founder and managing director of Sliabh Liag Distillers says: “The Dark Silkie is the first addition to the Silkie range and adds a smoky overlay to the signature Silkie style. It has always been my intention to bring peat smoke to blends and this is the first time we have been able to source the right smoky whiskeys for our Silkie. It’s the perfect stepping-stone for introducing the dry, rich, smoky style that we believe is true to Donegal and the wild Atlantic coast.”

    “The Legendary Dark Silkie has, on the nose, fresh apple, pipe tobacco and the comforting dry smoke of a peat fire. To taste, the whiskey is super soft with a salted-caramel sweetness, dark chocolate and liquorice, oak, leather and a dry spicy smoke. The finish is warming with smoky malt, peanut butter and melts away” Doherty added.

    Dark Silkie has at its core a triple distilled peated single malt which is matured in sherry casks. This single malt is peated to 55ppm (parts per million) which after the triple distillation results in a phenol level around 22ppm giving a rich, sweet, smoky flavour. The peated single malt is blended with a double distilled single malt matured in bourbon barrels and soft grain whiskey matured in virgin oak casks.

    As with the multi-award winning Silkie Irish Whiskey, Dark Silkie is hand bottled at Sliabh Liag Distillers in Carrick, County Donegal and, in keeping with the strong tradition of storytelling still prevalent in Donegal, The Dark Silkie is named after the Silkies of the Donegal coast. Silkies are mermaid-like mythical shapeshifters, who shed their seal skin coats on a sandy moonlit shore to become beautiful sea maidens.

    Last month, Sliabh Liag Distillers joined the national effort in fighting COVID-19 by pivoting production to hand sanitiser, as Doherty explains: “It has been a busy time with the pivot toward hand sanitiser in recent weeks, but in spite of the pandemic, we are pushing ahead with the distillery in Ardara and will only produce rich peated whiskeys with our “all grains in process” which I think is unique to Ireland”.

    The Legendary Dark Silkie Irish Whiskey has an RRP of €42 and is available online at the Sliabh Liag Distillers Webshop, Diceys, The Celtic Whiskey Shop, Amazon and Master of Malt.


    Sliabh Liag Distillers Answering Ireland’s Call by Manufacturing Hand Sanitiser.

    Pictured is Moira Doherty of Sliabh Liag Distillers with the distillery’s new hand sanitiser

    Donegal’s Sliabh Liag Distillers are joining the national effort to fight COVID-19 by pivoting
    production from their award-winning spirits to make hand sanitiser for Donegal's hospitals,
    essential services and front-line staff.
    “We’re delighted to be able to use our production facilities at the distillery in Carrick to
    produce hand sanitiser”, said director Moira Doherty.
    We have scaled back our normal production and diverted our attention to supporting front-
    line staff in their unprecedented efforts to protect us from the spread of this virus.”
    “Hand sanitiser is essential for our health service, but it must be made of a minimum 60%
    alcohol to be effective. We realised we are in a unique position to help our local services and
    community here in Donegal and we’re donating 1,000 litres to Donegal’s essential services.”
    she said.
    “We have been working with Rosaria at Algaran Teoranta in Glencolmcille, utilising her
    extensive knowledge to create an effective sanitiser at 70% alcohol, enriched with local
    seaweeds to make it kinder to the skin.”
    “To meet the public demand, it’s essential that hand sanitiser is available and the fact that
    we can produce it locally will help mitigate against any supply chain issues that may arise
    down the line. Donegal County Council and the Revenue have been supportive of this
    project from the outset."
    “There is an overwhelming sense of community in Donegal, which is why we chose it as our
    home. We are all in these uncertain times together and as a former midwife, I’m delighted to
    be able to do our bit for our front-line staff and health-care workers, to help protect them as
    they save lives.” Mrs. Doherty added, “and for members of the public in the locality we will
    organise a click and collect service from the on-line shop”
    Meanwhile, in spite of the global pandemic, the directors at Sliabh Liag Distillers are
    pressing ahead with plans for the new distillery in Ardara. “It is unlikely we will be open this
    year with the restrictions that are currently in place” said Managing Director, James Doherty
    “but we have commenced work on the site and remain resolute that, as soon as possible, we
    will build the whiskey distillery and get into scale production of Irish Whiskey in Ardara.”
    “Earlier in the year, we launched our Seanchaí Cask programme where people can
    purchase the first casks from the distillery and it has been particularly rewarding to welcome

    to the family the first of our 600 Seanchaí Cask Owners. They are helping us build the
    distillery and are a key part of the history and success of the company.”
    Based in west-Donegal, on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, Sliabh Liag Distillers continues its
    innovation drive and has released Dark Silkie, a dry smoky expression of the acclaimed
    Silkie Irish Whiskey and An Dúlamán Santa Ana Armada Strength Gin. Shortly after its
    release, An Dúlamán Santa Ana Armada Strength Gin was awarded silver in the Navy Gin
    category of the World Gin Awards, while Moira Doherty was also shortlisted for Distiller of
    the Year.
    Moira says it is an honour to be recognised at an international level: “It’s fantastic to be
    recognised among some of the best gin brands in the world. Our An Dúlamán Santa Ana
    Armada Strength Gin has a really rich story, with a strong connection to Donegal, so we’re
    delighted to be sharing that with gin lovers around the world.”
    The distillery’s other brands include The Legendary Silkie Irish Whiskey, An Dúlamán Irish
    Maritime Gin and Assaranca Vodka, which was released in 2019. Sliabh Liag Distillers is
    committed to reclaiming the distilling heritage of Donegal and plans to release The Sliabh
    Liag Donegal Single Malt Irish Whiskey and Donegal Pot Still Irish Whiskey when it reaches
    For more information on Sliabh Liag Distillers visit www.sliabhliagdistillers.com.
    To buy sanitiser www.sliabhliagdistillers.com/shop/

  • Exsto Cognac Elixir

    EXSTO Cognac Elixir  
    New Cognac, EXSTO, which Irish Guild of Sommeliers President Julie Dupouy Young  helped to create by being in charge of the taste development.
    EXSTO Cognac Elixir launched in Singapore a year ago, has been awarded a Master Medal by the Spirit Business.

    It was deemed worthy of the top accolade due to its “inviting nose” and flavours of “raisins, caramel, medjool dates, leather and wood polish”.

    Elixir is made from a mixture of eight eaux-de-vie. Exsto is said to be the first Cognac created in partnership by a master blender and a sommelier.

    ” I am so happy with this and I only found out this morning” Julie. 
    Congratulations Julie.
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