Irish I had Some Wine: A Look into Ireland's (Lack of) Wine Country
Updated: Apr 29
Ireland is full of rolling hills and natural, gorgeous resources. Their land is green, expansive, and lush. And with only about 5 million people, most of the country is occupied by nature and its surrounding landscape. The land itself is an island, entirely encompassed by water from coast to coast, not unlike several major wine countries. Everything about this country's infrastructure indicates that it would be the perfect place to grow grapes and produce wine.
So if Ireland's landscape has so much going for it, how come winemakers haven't jumped on the opportunity to utilize this rich landscape for harvesting their grapes? And with all of these up-and-coming wine countries on the horizon (like England, Japan, and even Texas), one would think that Ireland has the assets and resources to fall in line with its fellow newbies. So why is no one paying attention to all of this untapped potential?
The answer isn't because the Irish would rather be drinking beer.
May the Wine Rise Up to Meet You
While it may seem like Ireland has the perfect land for growers to harvest their grapes, there are a few setbacks to consider. For starters, Ireland is exceptionally far north. And while it is not impossible to grow grapes in colder climates (looking at you, Germany), it is certainly not easy. And Ireland's geographic location would serve as its biggest uphill battle for producing high-quality wine.
Ireland is also wet as hell. How do you think that grass gets so green? What may be great for the greenery in Ireland isn't so fun for growing wine grapes. A constant flood of moisture makes it a very challenging environment for vineyards to thrive in. Not to mention, Ireland tends to have much gloomier, overcast skies compared to other countries. And a lack of sunlight marks strike three for Ireland's wine country.
But that's not to say that it does not exist. Despite the challenges, there are still vintners that work very hard to produce wine in The Emerald Isle.
Wine in a Jar
The wine varietals you will find most often in Ireland are Cabernet Sauvignon, Gewurtztraminer, and Merlot. Still, the most popular is a red blend called Rondo. And several micro-producers in Ireland are incorporating other fruits (that are more accessible) into their wine instead, like berries.
For those interested in following an Irish winemaker that's making waves in the industry, check out the work of David Llewellyn. He's working extremely hard to put Ireland on the map as a serious winemaking country. Currently, He produces varietals like sparkling wine, Irish red wine and even coined his own wine, a dry red with notes reminiscent of Cabernet Sauvignon and Burgundy. He does everything by hand, even down to the bottling. Once in a blue moon, his wine is shipped internationally, but your best bet for getting your hands on his wine right now is to visit the country itself. And I mean, after a year plus in lockdown, I would kill to travel literally anywhere right now.
An Irish wine country certainly exists. But it's so low on the list of good terroir that it will have a long way to go before Irish wine can hold a candle to its fellow old-world competitors. That's not to say that farmers and growers aren't working extremely hard to get Ireland on the map, though. So who knows, what is now a blip in the vast world of wine could someday be an incredibly thriving industry.
Would you guys try Irish wine? How do you think it would taste? Let me know in the comments below?