• New Zealand Winegrowers Sommelier Scholarship recipients announced

    Media Release
    22 August 2019
    New Zealand Winegrowers is pleased to announce the 14 successful sommeliers chosen to participate in
    the 2019 New Zealand Winegrowers International Sommelier Scholarship.
    The New Zealand Winegrowers Sommelier Scholarship is a global initiative with sommeliers from Asia,
    Australia, Canada, Europe, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Arab Emirates, the UK and USA all eligible
    to participate.
    The 2019 event will play host to just 16 international sommeliers, including hosts Master of Wine
    Stephen Wong, and Master Sommelier Cameron Douglas.
    Sommit™ 2019 will be held in Northland, the country’s northernmost, and most spectacularly coastal,
    wine region. 2019 also marks the 200 year anniversary of the first planting of grapevines in New
    Zealand. Reverend Samuel Marsden records 25 September 1819 as the day he planted a vine in the rich
    grounds of the Stone Store, Kerikeri in the Bay of Islands.
    Sommit™ Northland will take place on the two days immediately prior to the anniversary, on 23 & 24
    September, and will be an incredibly special Sommit™, exploring the regions, varieties, landscapes and
    personalities that make New Zealand wine extraordinary, 200 years on.
    As per previous years, the experience remains 100% sommelier-exclusive, with the full day masterclass
    being a closed-door session, shepherded by Cameron and Stephen, but not presented by them. The
    discussion on the day will be informed organically, by what is tasted in the glass. The sommelier guests
    will then head to Hawke’s Bay, Marlborough, and finally, Central Otago.
    “Sommit™ is like no other experience for a sommelier,” says New Zealand Winegrowers’ Market
    Implementation & Education Manager, Felicity Turner. “It is an opportunity to taste amongst
    international peers, in the most astonishing New Zealand surrounds, and completely closed door. No
    winemakers, no wine marketers, just on-premise industry professionals tasting, discussing and debating
    without agenda. It’s a truly unique experience for our guests.”
    The 14 successful sommeliers are:
    • Delphin Duan, Edition Hotels (Shanghai)
    • Toshimichi Okamura, The Ritz-Carlton (Osaka)
    • Ashlyn Foster, Quay (Sydney)
    • Bhatia Dheeraj, Est. (Sydney)
    • Wiremu Andrews, Pt. Leo Estate & Laura Restaurants (Melbourne)
    • Brad Royale, Brad Royale Consulting (Alberta & BC)
    Media Release
    22 August 2019
    UK & Europe
    • Jacqueline Doucette, Geranium (Copenhagen)
    • Julia Sewell, Hide (London)
    • Philip Dunne, The Westbury Hotel (Dublin)
    United Arab Emirates
    • Amit Chavan, Hakkasan (Abu Dhabi)
    • Andrew Pettingell, Otium (Los Angeles)
    • Chris Struck, Union Square Café (New York)
    • Ezra Wicks, Bar Ferdinand (Seattle)
    • Jonathan Lopez, The Milling Room (New York)
    To date, the programme has hosted six Sommit™ events, for 97 Sommiteers, from 16 countries.
    Previous Sommit™ events have seen a marked increase in listings of New Zealand wines in top
    international restaurants.

    Editors notes:

    New Zealand wine is exported to more than 100 countries, with total exports reaching $1.83 billion in

    For further information contact:
    Felicity Turner
    Market Implementation & Education Manager
    New Zealand Winegrowers
    +64 21 552 173
    [email protected]

    Jean Logo 160x102

    Tel/Fax: +353 1 274 5955 Mobile: +353 86 816 8468 Wine Diary https://jeansmullen.com/

    Skype: jean.smullen  Twitter: @smullenj Linked in:  JeanSmullenWine

    2013 Runner Up IWSC Wine Communicator of the Year Award

    2009 Meiningers Wine Business International Most Influential Wine Promoter (Ireland)

  • Autumn 2019 Wine Diary Update

    Now that summer is almost over, time to take a quick look at the upcoming diary events for Autumn 2019.  The diary is starting to fill, and dates for 2020 are already being booked so make sure you have a look at those too.

    For anyone in the trade interested in the WSET range of courses, don’t miss Tindal Wine Merchants induction day on Thursday 12th Septembermore details in the diary.

    Look out for Portfolio tastings from Liberty Wines (Sept 18th), SPIT (October 24th),  Pembroke Wines (29th Oct) and  JN Wines in Dublin (Nov 5th).

    Whiskey Live will also return to  Dublin Castle on 22nd & 23rd November, 2019.

    Already it is looking like a very busy pre-Christmas season. If you have any events you would like to include in the diary, please email me at [email protected]  There is no charge to include an event.

    Sept 28th Liberty Wine Portfolio Tasting
    Oct 7th SIP 2019 Irish Wine Awards
    Oct 23rd Ribera del Duero Tasti
  • Wine Diary Update May 2019

    2019 has certainly been an active year so far in terms of wine events, lots of generic activity and portfolio tastings.  May is another busy month for wine events.  Look out for Classic Drinks New Pink Bubbles tasting on Monday 13th May in Cafe en Seine in Dawons Street (details below).

    The WSET will be holding an open day for anyone thinking of enrolling for WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines & Spirits.  It will take place in the Hilton Garden Inn on Custom House Quay, Dublin 1. from 18:30 – 21:30 on May 13th more details in the wine diary.

    Dont miss the Romanian Wine Fair on Tuesday 14th May, 2019 at the Hilton (Dublin) Hotel in Charlemont Place starting at 14:00 Open to trade & press.  Most of the producers are seeking representation. (details below).

    Fans of natural wine are in for a treat with The Real Wine Fair (May 15th) and the Amber Revolution Masterclass (May 16th) details in the diary.

    The Big Alsace Tasting (trade & consumer) is back for a second year and will take place on Wed 22ndMay, 2019 at ely wine bar IFSC, Dublin 1 (details below).

    Hats off to Beverley Matthews of L’Atitude Restaurant for keeping the show on the road and then some.  L’Atitude premises were damaged in a fire on St Patrick’s Day this year.  Temporarily without a premises,  Beverley has managed to keep her events going with the help of her many friends in the trade.   A full and very interesting programme of events continue in Idaho Café on Caroline Street, Crawford & Co on Anglesea Street and Ali’s Kitchen on Rory Gallagher Place.

    For more details go to http://www.latitude51.ie/

    Romanian Wine Fair




    The Big Alsace Tasting – Trade & Press Tasting  22nd May

    Trade Event
  • Sliabh Liag Distillery and Silkie Irish Whiskey – Published in SommelierS International Magazine – Issue 164 – May 2019

    Sliabh Liag Distillery and Silkie Irish Whiskey

    Andrew O’ Gorman, Secretary Irish Guild of Sommeliers

    Published in SommelierS International Magazine – Issue 164 – May 2019

    Image may contain: mountain, ocean, outdoor, nature and water

    Donegal has a long history of distilling, and while the majority of that distilling was classed as illegal, the county was renowned far and wide for the quality of spirits produced, namely the unregulated spirit – Poitín. By the 1850,s, Donegal was thought to have more illicit stills than the rest of Ireland put together but since the closure of the Burt Distillery in 1841 the area has been left bereft of a legitimate distilling presence. The Sliabh Liag Distillery aims to reclaim the Irish distilling heritage of Donegal, and to create brands that are inspired by both place and people.

    James and Moira Doherty, the founders are no strangers to the drinks industry, James has worked in the branded spirits and beer industry for over twenty years. They launched the first legal distillery in Donegal in almost 180 years. The Sliabh Liag Distillery launched its first expression, an independent bottling of Irish Whiskey named Silkie in 2016. Silkie is inspired by the legends long told along the coasts of Donegal of the Silkie or Silkie seals. Silkies take the form of seals in the ocean, and irresistibly beautiful women when they come ashore. On the nose Silkie Whiskey is fresh and malty, bright notes of green apple and a gentle honeyed butteryness. The taste is super soft, exceptionally smooth and elegant, with lively hints of orange zest and stem ginger. On the finish it is warming, graceful and gently melts away. The blue green of the label reflects the colour of the Wild Atlantic from the cliffs at Sliabh Liag in Donegal.

    Sliabh Liag: Sliabh means mountain and Liag means flagstones. Sliabh Liag stands sentinel over County Donegal on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic coast. Often described as “a place apart” this remote and beautiful land holds the terroir, heritage and folklore for our team of scatterings to embark on an exciting distilling journey.


    It lacks any English or indeed Irish translation, but the French have a word, a romantic and mystical term, for the synergy between soil, climate, tradition and terrain.

    It is this synergy that creates the finest of liquids. On the Sliabh Liag peninsula, surrounded by blue-green seas and punctuated by ancient imposing mountains, fairy glens and beaches of silver sand, the stunning landscape is home to vast expanses of heather and peat bogs, formed by abundant rainfall over thousands of years.

    Mixed with the fragrant sea spray from the wild Atlantic, the air is strikingly fresh, bracing and leaves a slight salty tang of the sea on the tip of your tongue.

    If terroir does have a bearing on spirits, then the Sliabh Liag peninsula is ideally suited to creating wonderful liquids.


    Donegal is steeped in a history of legal and illicit distillation, and the Sliabh Liag peninsula and the parish of Glencolmcille were among the most prolific Poitín producing areas in the County. Aeneas Coffey (1780–1839) was an Irish inventor and distiller whose work on continuous distillation transformed the industry  referred to distilling in the mountainous parts of Donegal as being where illicit distillation “has been carried on from time immemorial and been the principal occupation of almost the whole population”.  Poitín, anglicized as poteen is a traditional Irish distilled beverage (40%–90% ABV). Poitín was traditionally distilled in a small pot still and the term is a diminutive of the Irish word pota, meaning “pot”

    TASTING NOTES of Silkie Irish Whiskey

    Colour – Straw gold with hints of amber.

    Nose – Fresh and malty, brisk like green apples, opens to be more honeyed with a gentle butteryness.

    Taste – Super soft, honey to the fore, bright, hints of orange zest, digestive biscuits, brioche, butterscotch and stem ginger.

    Finish – Warming, elegant and gently melts away.





    The TÚATH (tu – ah) – from the old Irish for family or nation, is a conical shaped nosing and tasting glass for whiskey that functions superbly by concentrating & capturing all the aromas and flavours that make Irish Whiskey unique.

    The generosity of Irish spirit is reflected in the enhanced chamber capacity delivering a more generous drinking experience.

    tuath glass inspired by skellig micheal


    Deirdre Byrne, Marketing Manager Sliabh Liag Distillery stated “there are many ways to enjoy this whiskey. It can be consumed neat or with ice, it is also a great whiskey in cocktails due to its light and delicate style. Bartenders and sommeliers especially like to make cocktails with Silkie Irish Whiskey which allows them to experiment with their creativity and set their own specifications when it comes to creating original cocktails”. Deirdre won a gold at the World Cocktail Championships in Prague 2013.

    Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standing

    Deirdre Byrne with Andy O’ Gorman

    A personalised bottle of Silkie Irish Whiskey was presented to William Wouters, President of the Belgian Sommeliers Guild by Oliver Murtagh President Irish Guild of Sommeliers at the ASI world Sommelier Contest in Antwerp, Belgium during March 2019.

    Image may contain: 4 people, including William Wouters and Andy O'Gorman, people smiling, people standing and suit

    The distributor for Silkie Irish Whiskey in Belgium is Munros Beers and Spirits, Walhain.     https://www.munros.be/our-products/  Munros sprl Rue des Ourdons, 9/5, 1457 Walhain, Belgium    Mobile & Landline : +32 10 65 24 65

    Munros Logo

    I conducted a tasting of Silkie Irish Whiskey for a number of delegates attending the ASI World Sommelier Contest and they found this a very interesting Irish Whiskey outlining a number of differences from other Irish whiskies which they were familiar with. They also thought that the bottle was very elegant and were interested in the story of the name Silkie along with an explanation of the words Drioglann, Sliabh & Liag.

    The Original Irish Coffee Recipe made with Silkie Irish Whiskey

    1. Preheat your Irish coffee glass by filling it with boiling water for 5 seconds, then pour the water out.
    2. Add 1 teaspoon of brown sugar and a good measure of Silkie Irish whiskey into the warmed glass.
    3. Fill the glass to within 1 cm of the brim with hot, strong black coffee. Stir well to dissolve all the brown sugar.
    4. Carefully pour lightly whipped cream over the back of a spoon so that it floats on top of the coffee.
    5. Do not stir after adding the cream; optimal flavour comes from drinking the coffee and Silkie Irish whiskey through the cream. Image result for foynes irish coffee glass

    Silkie Irish Whiskey makes a beautiful Irish Coffee – Sláinte


  • Big Alsace Tasting @ Ely IFSC 22nd May

    Invitation to the Big Alsace Tasting

    After a successful inaugural year in 2018, the Big Alsace Tasting returns to Dublin as part of Alsace Wine Week.

    The trade and press tasting will take place at Ely Bar & Grill (IFSC) on Wednesday 22nd May from 11.00 to 17.30.

    There will be a second, ticketed session for consumers from 18.00 to 20.00.

    Over 25 producers’ wines will be shown at this walk-around tasting, including: Dirler Cadé, Marcel Deiss, Paul Ginglinger, Hugel, Josmeyer, Sipp-Mack, Meyer-Fonné, Réné Muré, Bruno Sorg, Schlumberger, Trimbach, Cave de Turckheim, Zinck & Zind-Humbrecht

    Please RSVP to Frankie Cook at [email protected]

    Six reasons to love Alsace wines

    1. The wines are so pure, mineral and aromatic that they are a delight to drink.
    2. There’s so much variety across the whole region that there are always new, interesting wines to discover.
    3. They range from the simple to the very complex and reflect where and by who they are made.
    4. The soil mosaic of Alsace is among the most complex of any wine region.
    5. The wines can age well, sometimes for decades.
    6. As they are under-the-radar they represent great value for money.
  • ROMANIAN WINE TASTING 14th May, 2019 Hilton (Dublin) Hotel, Charlemont Place, Dublin


    As part of the special programme celebrating Romania’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union (1 January 2019 – 30 June 2019), the Embassy of the Romania will be holding a Romanian Wine Tasting in Dublin in the Hilton (Dublin) Hotel, Charlemont Place, Dublin 2 from 2.00 p.m. to 4.00 p.m. on Tuesday 14th May, 2019

    The event, which will also include a program of Romanian music, performed by the RTE ConTempo Quartet featuring Adrian Mantu and Iulian Pusca will be launched by HE Mrs. Manuela Breazu, Ambassador of Romania.

    Particiating wineries include:
    Avencis (seeking representation), Castel Vinum “Villa Vinea” (seeking representation), Corcova (seeking representation),  Cramele RecasDavino (seeking representation),  Prince Stirby (seeking representation),  Senator Wines (seeking representation),  Ro Wines the Romanian specialist shop based in Dublin will also participate.

    The Romanian Wine Fair is being organized by the Embassy of Romania in Dublin.

    Mr. Dumitru ANCA, Minister
    Counsellor Economic & Commercial Embassy of Romania to Ireland
    Ph:   + 353 1 668 1149  E-mail: [email protected]mae.ro

    R.S.V.P TO
    Jean Smullen  Tel: + 353 1 86 816 8468  E:  [email protected]

  • Malbec Masterclass at 12.00 noon on Monday 15th April, 2019

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    The Malbec Masterclass at 12.00 noon on Monday 15th April, 2019  will be presented by Albert Baginiski.  Albert’s knowledge and  passion for Malbec is inspiring;  his presentation will examine the effect of altitude on the flavour profile of the Malbec grape.

    Although Argentina has a continental climate there are two key factors that impact on the quality of the fruit; they are latitude and altitude.  Altitude in Mendoza varies from 600 metres to 1,500 metres above sea level.   The higher the altitude of the vineyard the cooler the region.   For every 165 metre increase the average temperature of the vineyard decreased by 1 degree and this directly affects the wine style.  Those attending will taste a range of Malbec wines from a range of altitudes from specific regions and vineyards in the  Mendoza region.

    About Albert Baginiski  Albert has been working in Ireland for 12 years.  He started his wine career in the restaurant at Donnybrook Fair before moving to L’Ecrivian for four years.  Today, Albert is the wine buyer and group educator at FXB restaurants.  Albert set up his own importing company Solera Wine Merchants in 2014, he imports wine from Spain, Italy, Argentina and France.

    Places for the Masterclass are limited, so early booking is advised.  Contact Jean Smullen to book your place. Email:  [email protected] Telephone (086) 816 8468

  • Jean Smullen Wine Diary Highlights for April 2019

    Wine Diary Highlights for April 2019
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    April is another busy month for the wine trade with lots of events and activities taking place.  Wines from Spain will be running their 4th Spanish wine week from 8th-14th April, 2019 with a nationwide programme of events.  Details on http://spanishwineweek.ie

    Tomorrow April 2nd don’t miss the Grapecircus and Nomad wine tasting in the Merrion Hotel, Dublin 2. from 11.00 to 17.00  Trade & Press only Enrico Fantasia and Charles Derain also promise French & Italian smart comments!

    Gilbeys/Bibendum are on the road this week with their wine tasting roadshow of the new wines from their portfolio.  Cork (Apr 2nd), Galway (Apr 3rd) Dublin (Apr 4th – details below), Belfast Apr 8th.

    Don’t miss the Georgian Masterclass in the Westbury on April 10th (details below) followed by a small wine fair.  10 producers will be showing their wines and seeking rep on the Irish market.

    The Argentine Wine Fair and Masterclass will take place in the Hilton Hotel, Charlemont Place on Monday 15th. Details below.

    Monday 15th April Argentine Wine Fair & Masterclass
    Wed 10th April Georgian Masterclass & Wine Fair
    Thurs 4th April Gilbeys/Bibendum Dublin Tasting


    The Embassy of Georgia in Ireland
    The National Wine Agency of Georgia
     in partnership with The Doyle Collection
    cordially invites you to attendGEORGIAN WINE MASTERCLASS – PRESENTATIONconducted by sommeliers from the National Wine Agency of Georgia

    on Wednesday, 10 April 2019

    Venue: The Westbury Hotel
    Grafton Street, Dublin 2
    14:00 -17:00
    (Trade & Press only)
          Wine masterclass starts at 2pm to 3pm;
    Free pour tasting 3pm to 5pm

    R.S.V.P. & to book Masterclass place:
    Jean Smullen, Mobile: (086) 816 8468
    email: [email protected]
    Note:  Masterclass places must be booked in advance
    Georgia has an 8,000 year old history of making wine.  Numerous archeological discoveries have left historians in no doubt that Georgia is the birthplace of wine.  What makes Georgian wine making so unique is their centuries old wine making technique, known as Quervi.  Wine is fermented in clay vessels to create rich organic wines using the same methods used in the Neolithic era.  This ancient Quervi winemaking technique is now listed as a UNESCO intangible heritage.  Georgia has over 500 indigenous grape varieties in 10 wine making regions with a variety of climates and mesoclimates where wine is very much a part of Georgian life and culture.Some of the wineries already signed up to take part in the 2019 Georgian Wine Fair include: 
    Alexsi Tsukilashvili, Director, ARMUNJI  LLC; Ketevan Zautashvili, Winemaker, ARMUNJI  LLC; Lika Dentoshvili, Marketing Director, Sesiashvili; Giorgi Mandzulashvili, Director, Marndzulas Marani; Gvantsa Tchigvaria, Marketing and Export Manager, Chrebalo Wine Cellar; Irakli Khakhutashvili, Director,Wine House Gremi
  • ASI Best Sommelier of the World contest 2019

    The following may be of interest to you.
    #asiworld2019   #asibestsomm   #asisomms
    Please follow us in social media:
    Facebook: @asisomms
    Instagram: @asisomms_
    Twitter: @asisomms
    YouTube: @asisomms
    Will a woman finally win the title? Where will the winner come from? Will it be an established star or a surprise winner? This – and much more – is what we shall find out on the evening of March 15th, at the outcome of the contest finals, in the wonderful Elisabeth Center, in downtown Antwerp. Those who will be in Antwerp and would like to attend the finals can procure tickets at www.BestWorldSomm.com. Others will be able to follow every stage of the competition through social media, and even a live streaming of the final round through ASI’s YouTube and Facebook pages.

    ASI World Sommelier Competition in Antwerp

    by Jean Smullen

    Published 09/03/2019

    Good luck to Julie Dupouy who will be representing Ireland at the ASI World Sommelier Competition in Antwerp in Belgium on March 15th.  Julie who came third in the world two years ago at the ASI World’s in Argentina is one of the hotly tipped favourites for the title this year.   Will a women do it?  Will Julie lead Ireland to Sommelier glory?  You can book tickets to attend at the Elizabeth Centre in Antwerp via the website www.BestWorldSomm.com

    Or follow every stage of the competition on social media, or via the live streaming of the final round on ASI’s YouTube and Facebook pages.

    Facebook: @asisomms Instagram: @asisomms_ Twitter: @asisomms YouTube: @asisomms

    Andy O’Gorman and all the team at the Irish Guild of Sommeliers wish Julie the very best of luck this year, as indeed do everyone in the trade here in Ireland.

    Good luck Julie!