• Hotel and Catering Review Gold Medal Awards 2011

    Five Star Cork Hotel Wins Hospitality Industry’s Highest Accolade

    HAYFIELD MANOR HOTEL, the luxurious five star hotel in Cork city, has been awarded the highest accolade in the Irish hospitality industry, the prestigious Hotel & Catering Review Gold Medal Award for Excellence 2011.Gold Medal Award for Excellence 2011

    Hayfield Manor GM Ettienne van Vrede accepts the ultimate hospitality accolade, the supreme Gold Medal Award for Excellence 2011 at The Burlington on Monday night 24th November in front of a packed house of hoteliers, restaurateurs and caterers

    Mary O’ Callaghan, President, The Irish Guild of Sommeliers is a member of the judging panel for these awards.

  • Botanic Gardens – Grapes

    The following grape varieties are grown at the Botanic Gardens Dublin

    1. Vitace Vitis Vinifera Bianca

    2. Vitace Vitis Vinifera Schiava Grossa (Black Hamburg)

    The National Botanic Gardens were established in 1795 by the Royal Dublin Society and developed over more than 200 years since its creation. The Gardens have a distinguished history and record in botany, science, horticulture and education.

    The National Botanic Gardens has been a public institution since 1878 and is now managed by the Office of Public Works.

  • Drombeg


    John O’Connell, and cousins, Denis McCarthy and Gerard McCarthy, have recently launched their new Drombeg Premium Irish Spirit — a brown spirit created in Union Hall, Co. Cork using local spring water and utilising a proprietary oak wood maturation method.

    “We felt there was a great demand for a low alcohol brown spirit — and this is what inspired us to develop Drombeg which we have named after the nearby Drombeg stone circle,” said John.

    “We started developing Drombeg in 2005 and got to the market earlier this year. It took an awful long time and a lot of work but when we thought we had got it right, we engaged the services of Dr Barry Walsh, former master blender with Irish Distillers and he helped bring it the final five per cent of the way, and that was a great confidence-booster, getting his endorsement.”

    John pointed out that if a person wanted a brown spirit, before Drombeg, their choice was restricted to whiskey or brandy, Which are normally 40%Abv.

    Drombeg has a good clean light feel but with a depth of flavour from the oak used in the maturation process, giving it a distinct but not overpowering flavour.

    “We were fortunate also to get some Enterprise Ireland funding but, once we got the endorsement of Dr Barry Walsh, we were confident to drive ahead”

    Drombeg is Ireland’s oldest stone circle – a mystical ancient monument dating from as early as 980 BC.

    Here, amidst the rolling hills of the beautiful West Cork countryside, Drombeg has withstood millennia of change to endure as a silent tribute to Ireland’s enigmatic past.
    Borne from this rich heritage and tradition, Drombeg Premium Irish Spirit™ is distilled and matured not far from this mysterious yet stunning archaeological feature. Created using pure spring water and locally-sourced ingredients, we achieve an outstanding traditional taste.

    Smooth, subtle and with a distinctive smoky flavour, Drombeg Oak Wood Matured Premium Irish Spirit™ is inspired by the legacy of West Cork’s historic surroundings. Expertly distilled and patiently matured using our unique Drombeg™ maturation process, Drombeg Premium Irish Spirit™ extols the very same characteristics as the remarkable Drombeg site – timeless and intriguing.

    Barry & Fitzwilliam are distributors of the product.

    Andrew O’ Gorman.

  • Angostura

    Angostura – Trinidad and Tobago, Caribbean Rum

    To Trinidad

    Venezuela was not as politically stable as Simon Bolivar had promised. There was internal strife and dictator followed dictator. After Dr. Siegert died in 1870, Carlos and Alfredo decided to leave and chose the nearby island of Trinidad as their country of adoption. In Trinidad, Carlos and Alfredo were joined by their youngest brother, Luis, and together they set up business once again. Angostura® aromatic bitters made the brothers remarkably prosperous.

    In 1903 Carlos Siegert died followed in two years by Luis, making Alfredo the sole owner of the secret formula for Angostura® aromatic bitters.

    In 1904, Alfredo was appointed purveyor of Angostura® aromatic bitters to the King of Prussia and in 1907 to King Alfonso XIII of Spain. He went public with the company and named it Angostura Bitters (Dr. J.G.B. Siegert & Sons) Limited. Three years later the Company was appointed purveyor of Angostura® aromatic bitters to King George V.

    Alfredo speculated in several business projects and lost, great sums of money, and the House of Angostura passed into the hands of its creditors.

    Angostura Award Winning Rums Tasting By John George of Angostura at Premier Beverage Brands, Dublin on 13th October,2011 and hosted by Paul Maguire


    A marvelous añejo made from a blend of light and heavy molasses-based rums aged for a minimum of 8 years in charred American oak bourbon barrels.

    Angostura® 1919 rum possesses a rich, golden-amber hue with excellent clarity. The rum exudes a complex bouquet brimming over with aromas of cocoa, molasses, caramel and vanilla.

    It is remarkably soft and well rounded as the rum glides over the plate without a hint of harshness or biting edge. Within moments it opens up, revealing a generous and long-lasting array of toasty flavours. The finish is warm and very relaxing.


    Angostura 1824 Limited Reserve is a blend of the finest mature rums, hand-picked by the master blender from select casks. These rums are aged in charred American oak bourbon barrels for a minimum of 12 years and then skillfully hand-blended and re-casked. Upon the rum’s optimum maturity it is hand-drawn, filtered and hand bottled.

    The rum itself excudes a rich bronze colour with a seamlessly smooth texture and well rounded, medium to full body. The bouquet is seductively rich with aromas of sweet molasses, vanilla, honey, spice and cognac-like notes.

    The palate of Angostura 1824 offers mouth-watering flavours of honey, fruit, chocolate, spices and herbs. The finish is remarkably long and flavour-packed.

    An excellent rum with a good Cuban cigar. The cigar blows the flavour up.

    This is a rum for drinking and not mixing.


    Blending two varieties of citrus essence with their distinctive herbs and spices – creates a truly unique new style of bitters. A harmonious balance of bitter orange fruit and sun-ripened sweet oranges from the Caribbean bring a depth of orange flavour. The perfect enhancement to an endless variety of culinary delights and cocktails

    Global trends in the bitters category have been diversifying into flavoured segments. Angostura, world renowned for its aromatic bitters has used nearly 200years of experience to formulate this zesty new orange bitters

    Angostura 1824 Limited Reserve is a blend of the finest mature rums, hand-picked by the master blender from select casks. These rums are aged in charred American oak bourbon barrels for a minimum of 12 years and then skillfully hand-blended and re-casked. Upon the rum’s optimum maturity it is hand-drawn, filtered and hand bottled.

    The rum itself excudes a rich bronze colour with a seamlessly smooth texture and well rounded, medium to full body. The bouquet is seductively rich with aromas of sweet molasses, vanilla, honey, spice and cognac-like notes.

    The palate of Angostura 1824 offers mouth-watering flavours of honey, fruit, chocolate, spices and herbs. The finish is remarkably long and flavour-packed.

    The following Rums were also tasted: Angostura Reserva, Aged 3 Years, Angostura 5 Year Old & Angostura 7 Year Old


    ANGOSTURA® aromatic bitters is a highly concentrated food and beverage flavouring. Made from a secret formula, it is a unique blend of natural herbs and spices which is used to flavour a wide variety of foods and drinks.

    The “secret” was developed in 1824 by Dr. J.G.B. Siegert, a Surgeon General in Simon Bolivar’s army in Venezuela. He used his aromatic bitters to improve appetite and digestive well-being of the soldiers. The word “Angostura” came from the town of that name in Venezuela where Dr. Siegert was based.

    Angostura aromatic bitters is a unique flavour enhancer for food preparation, beverages and deserts; just a few dashes can enhance the flavour of any dish.

    It is not bitter when added to food & drink, but rather has the ability to marry flavours, bringing out the best in them without masking their taste.

    Other Rums Tasted:

    Angostura Reserva, Aged 3 Years possesses an exceptionally dry taste with a rich and warm flavour of vanilla and a finish that is smooth and relaxing. A good starting rum for cocktails.

    Angostura 5 Year Old. This rum can be enjoyed neat as a sipping rum, or over ice, but its deep character lends to being mixed with stronger mixers, spices and herbs.

    Angostura 7 Year Old. This is a complex and sophisticated rum. It is full of mouth watering flavours that include maple, chocolate, honey and toffee and presents a rich full-bodied taste that tapers off into the classic rum finish.


    When the family moved to Trinidad, they had some experience in making rum and had produced its signature blend – Siegert’s Bouguet Rum infused with bitters.

    By the turn of the century, the Company ventured into the rum market, at first just in bottling bulk rum from other distillers. After years of intensive research in fermentation and distillation processes, the Company purchased a distillery called Trinidad Distiller’s Limited, which was installed with a state-of-the-art distillery in 1945 and named a wholly owned subsidiary of Angostura Limited. This heralded the company’s entry into the production of rum on a major scale

    By the end of 1960, the Company had extended distribution of its products to over 140 countries across the world, becoming well known internationally for its high quality rums in addition to the now world famous Angostura® aromatic bitters. During the year 1973, Angostura purchased the well known distillery owned by J.B. Fernandes, adding to its product lists established brands such as Fernandes Vat 19, Fernandes black label and Ferdi’s Premium rum.

    In 1985 Angostura Limited became the proud recipient of a National Award, the Humming Bird Gold Medal, for its contribution to industry in Trinidad and Tobago, the first company to be so honoured.

    Within the past few years, Angostura has doubled its overall distillation and storage capacity in Trinidad with average production levels rising from 1.3 million litres in 1960 to 20 million litres in 1998. At the turn of the century, rectification capacity increased to 50 million litres. More than 95% is exported to consumers all over the world.

    The core business of the House of Angostura is now located on a 20 acre complex in Trinidad and includes its administration facility, a museum, art gallery, auditorium, merchandising shop, wine and spirits retail outlet, dining room and hospitality suites which facilitate visitor tours. In 1997, the Company installed a new manufacturing facility for its line of sauces which was previously packaged in the United States of America.

    Distilled in Trinidad, using the secret recipe since 1824, and the same natural blend of herbs and spices, Angostura® aromatic bitters is versatile beyond belief. It has retained its original formulation, one of the few remaining true trade secrets, an international brand that over the centuries has continued to flavour the world. Read the label, which is itself perfect. It will give you an insight to the product, with suggestions from savoury sauces to cakes, through crispy vegetables, meats and cocktails.

    You will soon find Angostura® aromatic bitters indispensable, subtly marrying flavours, enhancing and enriching, turning every meal into an unexpected experience. A bottle of Angostura® aromatic bitters in the kitchen is the hallmark of a good Caribbean cook.

    Summary of Rum Manufacture at the Trinidad Distillery.

    The distillery is designed to produce 60,000 litres of a 96% w/w alcohol product from the anaerobic fermentation of the sugar in molasses by yeast. The following is a simple process flow diagram that gives an overview of the operations at the distillery.

    To make rum one has to start with sugar from sugarcane. Molasses is a by-product from the sugarcane industry. It is the slurry that remains after most of the recoverable sugars have been extracted from the crushed cane. Generally, it is composed of 70-80% w/w solids and 20-30% w/w water. Of particular interest to the distillery is its fermentable sugar content which typically amounts to 35-55% w/w (sucrose, glucose, fructose); this is what the yeast “feed” on during fermentation.

    2. YEAST
    This is a uni-cellular organism of the Saccharomyces Cerevisae family. Aerobic conditions promote propagation and growth of the yeast, while anaerobic conditions result in alcohol fermentation – the basis of the rum industry. Yeast, being living organisms, requires a controlled environment with the right amounts of vitamins, minerals and nitrogen. All of these are present in sufficient quantities in the molasses, except for the nitrogen, which must be supplied as Ammonium Sulphate (NH4)2SO4.

    The molasses is dissolved in water in the ratio of approximately 1:3.  We add a small amount sulphuric acid to reduce the pH to control bacterial infections. It also has the effect of assisting by reducing the amount of non-sugar dissolved solids that can be harmful to both fermentation and distillation.  The resulting mixture called ‘mash’, is about 12 – 13% sugar.


    4.3 Germination (Growth of new yeast cells):

    Clarified mash of specific gravity 1.050 – 1.060 is sent to a germinator, along ammonium sulphate. This mixture is sterilised using low-pressure steam before the yeast culture is added. This culture is either obtained as 2-6L lab grown cultures or retained contents of the propagator. Germination proceeds for approximately 12 hours before the contents of the vessel are transferred to the propagator. During this time filtered air is injected into the vessel to maintain circulation and aerated conditions.

    4.3 Propagation (Increase in the number of yeast cells):

    Contents of the germinator are added to the sterilised contents of the propagator (Yeast feed, mash and ammonium sulphate). Propagation continues for 18 hours, before being transferred to the growing tanks. Aerobic conditions are maintained in the vessel by the addition of filtered air to the propagator. This, as well as the water circulation through the external water jacket, maintains the temperature at 30-32ºC.

    4.3 Yeast Growth (Increase in the size of the yeast cells):

    Mash + (NH4)2SO4 + Propagated culture → Growing Tanks

    The culture is allowed to grow for 24 hours. Injected air and circulation through the wash cooler maintain the growing temperature at 30 + 2°C. Antifoam (food grade) is also added during the growing process, before the contents are transferred to the designated fermenters.

    Propagated Yeast Culture + Mash (s.g. ~1.096) + Nutrients → ‘Wash’ (8-10% alcohol)

    Alcohol is formed according to the following equation:

    C6H12O6 + Yeast → 2 C2H5OH + Heat

    100 lb → 51.11 lb + 48.89 lb + 17,000 BTU

    Fermentation is completed within 36-48 hours and the temperature is maintained by recirculation through a cooler. A pH of 4.2 – 4.5 and a temperature of 32-35°C are considered to be optimum for alcohol production. The above equation also shows that carbon dioxide is produced.

    The purpose of distillation is to obtain the alcohol from the fermented wash (8-10% w/w alcohol composition) and ultimately refine it to produce the spirits that will be used to make the rum. The fermented wash contains not only alcohol but also many by-products that as a group are called congeners. These congeners are vital to the taste and aroma of rum.

    The first column is the Wash Stripper or Beer Column; it removes water and residual solids from the ‘wash’ stream. The product from this column is heavy rum steam (80-85% ethanol by vol). This is our first product. It contains all the congeners from the fermentation. It is very flavourful and aromatic and it is inevitably aged. To make light, the heavy rum is then sent to the Purifier (Hydroselector) Column. Here the water added changes the vapour/liquid equilibrium so that the light components separate easily from the alcohol. The head goes to the alcohol recovery column, while the bottoms feeds the Rectifier Column; this stream is typically 12% alcohol. The rectifier concentrates the alcohol to be separated; a stream close to the top of the column is sent for final rectification, the bottoms is recycled to the purifier and the other cuts are sent to the Alcohol Recovery Column. This Recovery Column recovers the alcohol from all the by-product streams from the other columns.

    The Final Column produces a bottoms product of 96.6% alcohol (light rum) that may be used to make rum.

    The light and heavy rums are aged in oak barrels for periods of not less than two years and up to fifteen for the heavy rums. The spirits are eventually blended and sometimes colouring is added. For white rums, the residual colour from the barrel is actually removed.

    The difference between rum and whisky manufacture begins with the starting point. Whisky starts with barley that must be malted before it is converted from a starch to a sugar that can be fermented. After fermentation, it is also distilled usually using a pot still or single column.

    The sugar that is fermented to make cognac, come from grapes. As is the French style, only grapes grown in a particular area in France can be used. First the grapes are fermented into wine and this is distilled in special stills to yield cognac.

    Brandy is made the same way but because the grapes aren’t grown in the Cognac region, it can not be called cognac. All spirits are aged in a special barrel prior to blending and bottling.

    Andrew O’ Gorman, 14/10/2011.

  • Tullamore

    New-look Tullamore Dew bottle is ‘truly Irish’

    Irish whiskey Tullamore Dew, currently the world’s second largest Irish whiskey, unveiled a new bottle, marketing and advertising campaign at TFWA World Exhibition in Cannes this year.

    The new communications campaign is headed by the theme ‘Irish True’ and has been developed by Tullamore Dew Global Brand Director Shane Hoyne in collaboration with international agency McCann Erickson, Jeff Weis and filmmaker Jake Scott. The result is an amusing TV ad, already showing in the UK, with the campaign set to roll out over ten markets into October and then globally from 2012.

    Hoyne commented: “Hopefully what you see is we’ve taken a very different approach on ‘Irishness’ and we’ve taken something we believe can create some very iconic messaging. I think one thing is that we have a good sense of humour and that’s a very important part of our brand as well.

    “It’s incredibly exciting for us. As the brand owners of Tullamore Dew, I think it’s fair to say we’ve put our heart and soul into this brand. Tullamore Dew is the second largest Irish whiskey in the world; it’s a very fast growing brand in a very fast growing category.

    ‘GLOBAL PREMIUM WHISKEY BRAND’ “Our belief is that this brand is only the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more that we can bring to the market, whether it’s in our domestic or global travel retail market, but to do that we felt that there were a couple of major things that needed to be done.

    “One was our aspiration is to establish Tullamore Dew as a truly global premium whiskey brand and for that to happen we need a truly global premium positioning for the brand.”

    Hoyne also revealed the new bottle and packaging, explaining how the brand owners were very conscious that they wanted to create something with a globally premium appeal:

    “The new Tullamore Dew labelling and bottle has a couple of things that we felt were very important. One was to keep the current integrity of the shape of the bottle, which is quite unique in Irish whiskey, but to make the overall look and feel much more premium and much more contemporary.

    “As well, what we’ve also done at the same time is really accentuated points about our brand that we’ve never really talked about before. We’ve changed the word Dew to D.E.W, which are the letters of Daniel E Williams, the founder of Tullamore Dew back in 1829. So we’re starting to bring back a little bit of the Irish True back into the brand as well.”

    As one of the fastest-growing Irish whiskey brands in the world, almost doubling sales since 2005, Tullamore Dew has also scooped two top awards at this year’s prestigious Irish Masters Awards, for highly acclaimed Tullamore 10 Year Old Reserve (Gold) and Tullamore Dew Black 43 (Master), which further cements the brand as one of the industry’s most respected Irish whiskeys.

    The brand was purchased by William Grant & Sons last year, an independent family-owned distiller founded by William Grant in 1886 and still controlled today by the fifth generation of his family.

    Andrew O’ Gorman, October,2011.

    Monday, 28 May 2012


    William Grant Ltd., the owner of Tullamore Dew, is backing the brand on export and domestuic markets with an integrated marketing campaign that includes edgy advertising and a a new bottle as it plans to do battle with giants Diageo, Pernod Ricard and Beam in an upwardly-mobile Irish Whiskey eector.

    It is also planning to distil its own whiskies in a new distillery planned for Tullamore where a new Visitor Centre will open next year.

    At present Tullamore Dew is made from a blend of whiskies distilled at the Pernod Ricard distillery in Midleton and the Diaeo distillery at Bushmills. This will change from  2014 when the new distillery will begin production. It will be some years after that however before the company achieves a self-sufficient whiskey stock.

    Meanwehile William Grant is working on a re-positioning of the brand and setting up distribution in key export markets. Grant claims that Tullamore Dew with 15% of the world Irish Whiskey marketis the second-largest Irish whiskey brand on export markets which would put it ahead of Bushmills but well behind Jameson, the Pernod Ricard-owned brand leader.

    Long-time Tullamore employee John Quinn (pictured) has been appointed Brand Ambassador for Tullamore Dew. He says that the brand is distinctive because it combines all three types of Irish whiskeys – pot still, malt and grain giving additional complexity.

    New advertising for Tullamore Dew had a hard edge showing the bottle in a dark rain-soaked environment with catch-lines such as ‘Glasses Up’, ‘Bards-Bedlam’, ‘Fear-Poet-Drink-Whiskey’ and ‘Love-Havoc’. The new bottle features the signature of Daniel Edmund Williams, founder of the whiskey brand and the brand name has been modified to his initials, ‘D.E.W’, recognising the work of the Mountmellick-born distiller who cycled to work in Tullamore and often slept in the distiller loft.

    William Grant and its Irish distributor Findlater plan to emphasise the heritage of the brand with the packaging and the new Tullamore Visitor Centre which hopes to attrtact 40,000 visitors per annum

    Irish whiskey is the world’s fastest growing spirit, though coming from a low base, According to a report by Davy Stockbrokers,the renaissance of Irish whiskey has helped whiskey to outpace growth in the rest of the food and beverage sector.

    Davy notes: “The Irish whiskey category has undergone significant change in the past number of months. Most notably, Beam, the US spirits giant, acquired the lone remaining Irish-owned distillery when it paid $95 million [€75m] for the Cooley distillery. Beam will now compete in the Irish whiskey space against category leader Pernod Ricard [Jameson, Paddy, Powers], Diageo [Bushmills] and William Grant [Tullamore Dew].”

    Davy noted: “Beam has already earmarked the Kilbeggan brand as the group’s new priority Irish whiskey brand from among the Cooley stable. As a result of Beam’s acquisition of Cooley, the majority of third-party brands as well as much of the private label Irish whiskey market will now disappear.”

    The stockbroker also notes that Cooley had previously been the main supplier of liquid for much of these smaller brands, but predicts that Beam will now discontinue these contracts where possible.

    The Davy report notes that Irish whiskey has fallen a long way over the past century.  “While Irish whiskey is the fastest-growing whiskey category in the world, it is coming off a low base. Scotch is now a 90 million case-a-year industry globally compared to Irish whiskey at around 5 million cases. For comparison, American whiskey is a 30 million-case industry and Canadian whiskey sells 20 million cases annually.”

    Jameson is Ireland’s strongest export brand by a significant margin, accounting for around 3.4 million of the five million cases exported annually. Davy is predicting that Beam’s acquisition of the Cooley distillery may see a greater degree of competition emerge in the category in future years.

  • Barry Crockett

    Master distiller Barry Crockett has Distillers’ whiskey named after him

    By Joe Dermody

    Monday, May 30, 2011

    MIDLETON master distiller Barry Crockett has been given the rare honour of having a bottle of whiskey named after him.

    Newly launched by Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard as part of a new ‘Single Pot Still’ range of connoisseur whiskeys, the Midleton Barry Crockett Legacy is a finely tuned modern homage to the Cork-based distillery’s now globally celebrated whiskeys, the most famous of which is Jameson.

    Next month La Maison du Whiskey in Paris is devoting a week to the new single pot range, which includes Redbreast, Green Spot, the Powers John’s Lane Release and the Midleton Barry Crockett Legacy.

    As master distiller, Barry Crockett’s signature appears on numerous whiskeys. He has been signing his name to the Midleton Rare since 1984, but this is the first time a whiskey has been named after him.

    Head of distillery operations, Tommy Keane, said: “I think the last person given this honour was John Jameson. The fact that Barry’s name is on this single pot whiskey is very well earned. He has dedicated a lifetime to Midleton.”

    “Barry Crockett is a celebrity in the global whiskey industry. The new single pot still range has been very well reviewed by food and drink magazines all over the world. And Barry must also take a lot of credit for the company’s decision to invest €100 million on a new distillery in Midleton, doubling our capacity in the next few years.”

    An industry legend, Barry Crockett was born in the Distiller’s Cottage, on the grounds of the Midleton distillery. He has been working in the distilling business since the age of 17.

    He learned his craft from his father Maxwell Crockett, succeeding him as master distiller in 1981. The Crocketts have dominated Irish distilling for more than 70 years.

    Barry Crockett said: “We are re-establishing single pot still whiskeys, which were the style in the 1940s. There has been huge global interest in brands like Redbreast, and in the 12-and 15-year-old Green Spot.”

    15th October,2011 in LondonBarry Crockett, Master Blender, Irish Distillers with the International Spirits Challenge Trophy for ‘Midleton Barry Crockett Legacy’, which was awarded to him at a ceremony in London this week.

    Barry Crockett, Master Blender, Irish Distillers with the International Spirits Challenge Trophy for ‘Midleton Barry Crockett Legacy’, which was awarded to him at a ceremony in London this week.

    Glasses raised to Crockett as firm gets award for world-beating whiskey

    IRISH Distillers and parent Pernod Ricard Is celebrating after winning a highly esteemed trophy for its recently launched single pot still whiskey, Midleton Barry Crockett Legacy, at the International Spirits Challenge (ISC) held in London this week. It received the highest accolade within the whiskies of the world category, following its launch in April 2011 as part of the single pot still whiskeys of the Midleton range.Master distiller Barry Crockett attended the awards ceremony to collect the award, with  master blender Billy Leighton, and master of whiskey science Dave Quinn.

  • Newsletter

    It is hoped to produce a Guild newsletter. I am asking members to email me any relevant news items and or articles which may be relevant by the 11th November,2011. Email ogorman.andy@gmail.com

    Extended to 9th January,2012 for contributions.

  • About ASI

    Shinya TasakiThe responsibilities of a modern sommelier are today seen as going far beyond merely serving wines. As well as a complete knowledge of this field, and an indispensable gift for human relationships, he/she must also display a considerable understanding of purchase and stocks management. A good sommelier is today also associated with the marketing of the business.         Mary O’Callaghan M.A., Dip. WSET

    While knowledge of wines and spirits can be acquired in specialist schools (such as Oenology Institutes) and the foundations of the trade in specialist institutions (hostelry schools, etc), there is no other means of acquiring the necessary experience other than informally throughout one’s career. This situation makes obvious the need for continuous training in the real sense of the word, which would consolidate scattered personal experiences by means of a rational approach.


    The Association de la Sommellerie Internationale (ASI) has set itself the task of constructing this necessary continuous training program, which in the form of courses, books and regularly updated training material – available on this web site – will supply the framework for the continuous updating of information indispensable in a profession which must constantly adapt to the ceaseless evolution in techniques and tastes.

    ASI, a non-profit making organization, was founded in Reims (France) on the 3 – 4 June 1969, and has the following aims:

    1. To bring together the national sommellerie associations (just one member association per country) and to promote their founding where they do not yet exist
    2. To co-ordinate actions aimed at developing and advancing the profession by various means (training courses, etc.)
    3. To enhance the sommelier’s profession by educating the consumer
    4. To defend the ethics of the profession

    ASI participates in all events related to wine, spirits and other drinks, and is able to take any action directly or indirectly aimed at its objectives defined above.

    The ASI legal Headquarters are located in Paris (France) and is administered by the member country holding the presidency for a three-year period. The Council comprises of the President, a General Secretary, helped by an assistant Secretary, a Treasurer and an assistant Treasurer, as well as the Presidents of each national member associations or their elected representatives.

    Photographs: Mr. Shinya Tasaki, President ASI & Mary O’ Callaghan, President, The Irish Guild of Sommeliers.

  • Grahams Port/Chocolate Masterclass

    Graham’s Port…..a wonderful groom to a Chocolate bride

    Port and chocolate is a classic marriage and to celebrate the upcoming ‘Chocolate Week’ in mid-October, Graham’s Port and Lily O’Briens chocolates invite you to explore the wonderful world of Port and Chocolate.

    Port is a fortified red or white wine – this means extra alcohol has been added to elicit sweetness. There is a rule of thumb about ensuring your wine is sweeter than your dessert. This holds true for pairing Ports as well.

    As with any food pairing, the key concept is matching the weight and intensity of the chocolate with that of the wine.  With dark, intense chocolate flavours we suggest Graham’s Six Grapes, a Late Bottled Vintage or a younger, ripe-fruit-driven Vintage Port.  In fact, a plain 70% chocolate provides almost the perfect partner to some of Graham’s finest ports.

    Henry Shutton, winemaker of the prestigious premium Graham’s Port, will be hosting a masterclass in The Porthouse, Dublin 2, in what promises to be a lively and fun debate, pairing some of his finest ports with some of Lily O’Briens spectacular chocolate selection. The masterclass will take place at 5.30pm on Wednesday 26th October and there is limited availability so book early to avoid disappointment. Tickets are €20 per person.

    For more information or to purchase tickets, please contact                              Emma Needham at emma@needhamcorpcomm.comor 087 912 76476.


    Graham’s Late Bottled Vintage Port (LBV) is a wine of a single year, made in years when no formal “Vintage” is declared.  Whereas vintage port spends only two years in casks and then matures in bottle, LBV is aged in casks for four to six years, then bottled after a light filtration.  Graham’s 2003 LBV has a deep and almost opaque ruby colour.  Both nose and palate are of stunning intensity, the nose of red and jammy black fruit aromas, the palate full bodied and robust with an exceptionally velvety and well-rounded structure, leading to a complex and fruit-driven finish.  For this reason, Graham’s LBV is the perfect match to simple dark chocolate, perhaps with a cassis or fruity tinge.

    RSP: €17.99       Stockists: Widely available, including Supervalu, Dunnes, O’Briens, all good off licences

    Graham’s Six Grapes Reserve Port is blended to be as similar as possible to a young vintage port, and is often referred to as “the everyday port for the vintage port drinker.”  Dark red in colour, with a seductive rich perfume of ripe plums and cherries, the palate is a complex blend of fruit flavours, with a good structure and a long lingering finish- a perfect accompaniment to dark chocolate fondants or intense and rich chocolate brownies.

    RSP: €22.99       Stockists: Dunnes, all good off licences

    Graham’s Quinta dos Malvedos Vintage Port is a vintage port made solely from the grapes produced at our legendary Quinta dos Malvedos in the heart of the Douro region.  The 1999 vintage has a gorgeous bouquet redolent of chocolate, mint and spice.  The palate is both luxurious and lusty, showing cassis and layers of blackcurrant and black plum. An intense chocolate torte served with fresh raspberries has proven to be the best match to date with Graham’s Quinta dos Malvedos Vintage 1999.  The raspberry and chocolate combination together with the rich, plummy intensity and long luscious finish of the wine is out of this world.

    RSP: €49.99       Stockists: all good off licences


    International Wine and Spirit Competition 2010

    1 ‘BEST IN CLASS’ Gold medal: Graham’s 1999 Quinta dos Malvedos Vintage

    2 Silver medals: Graham’s Late Bottled Vintage 2005 (BEST IN CLASS); Graham’s 30 Years Old Tawny

    Decanter World Wine Awards 2010

    2 Gold medals: Graham’s Crusted 2002; Graham’s 10 Years Old Tawny

    4 Silver medals: Graham’s Late Bottled Vintage 2005; Graham’s Six Grapes; Graham’s 1999 Quinta dos Malvedos Vintage; Graham’s 1994 Vintage

    International Wine Challenge 2010

    8 Silver medals: Graham’s Six Grapes; Graham’s Late Bottled Vintage 2005; Graham’s 20 Years Old Tawny; Graham’s 30 Years Old Tawny; Graham’s 40 Years Old Tawny; Graham’s 1999 Quinta dos Malvedos Vintage; Graham’s 1994 Vintage; Graham’s 1980 Vintage