THREE things happening this week (two in Cork, one nationwide) may be of interest to wine fans – the inaugural session of Bubble Brothers’ new wine club, a guide to growing your own fruit, and a virtual blind tasting session through the medium of Twitter.
1. New wine club in Cork
Firstly, Bubble Brothers are launching what sounds like a fun monthly wine club. The Blackrock Castle Wine Club, as its name suggests, will be based at the unspeakably handsome castle-restaurant-observatory of that name on the Lee. It’ll meet 10 times a year, on the last Thursday of every month (except July and December) from 7.30pm to 9.30pm.
Forgive my repitition of what I regard as a well-kept secret: wine tastings, wine dinners and wine clubs often offer astonishing good value for a night out and BB’s club looks likely to be no exception. The price is €200 per year for all 10 sessions, or €25 per session for non-members, subject to space. They’ll meet at the Castle Bar and Trattoria in Blackrock Castle, although there may be occasional exceptions such as a midsummer banquet on June 24 in the Castle’s Observatory Restaurant.
The inaugural meeting takes place next Thursday at 7.30pm. Check out www.bubblebrothers.com for more details. I’m sure I’ve posted something here before about the economics of such events *rummages around in files to no avail*. In brief — retailer, wholesaler and producer all happily drop their margins in order to showcase wines they believe in. The wine fan enjoys a convivial night but pays far, far less than she would for the nearest equivalent in a pub or restaurant. It’s wine-wine. Sorry I meant win-win.
2. Grow your own fruit
I recently wrote a column in the Irish Examiner followed by a blog post on the same theme about growing fruit. It was by way of reply to the frequently-asked question about the feasiblity of making wine (as we know it) in Ireland. Now it turns out one of the players in that piece is generously giving his time to a meeting of the Cork Free Choice Consumer Group on Thursday January 28. Con Traas (whose apples I was merrily munching as I wrote the original blog post) is joined by a fellow fruit grower to provide guidance and inspiration to amateur gardeners who fancy growing a whole range of delicious fruits. See here for all the details.
3. Twitter tasting
Time, ladies and gentlemen PUHLEASE! It’s last orders. Or at least it will be on Thursday January 28 at 1pm which is your last chance to order a mystery bottle of wine so you can participate in Ireland’s second Twitter Blind Tasting Event or twebt.
Anyone (over 18 of course) who has The Twitter and is anywhere in Ireland can take part in this online blind tasting set up by technology professional Brian Clayton and Kevin Crowley of Fenn’s Quay restaurant in Cork.
The idea is simple. Rather than being asked to stir from the hearth to take part in a wine event, you’re invited to buy one particular bottle — wrapped so its identity is unknown to you — and set yourself up with glasses and your chosen company on Sunday night to take part in the tasting. On Twitter at the appointed time (8pm) you post up descriptions of the colours, scents and flavours you detect — and discuss it with other participants as long as the fancy takes you. In 140 characters or fewer, of course. Go have a look-see at the Twitter stream for #twebt or the other links on this page.
As well as Fenn’s Quay, the twebt is centered on three wine importers based in Co Cork — Bubble Brothers, Curious Wines and Karwig’s — which are of course competitors, but which yet have found common cause: They collaborated on The Good Wine Show in December, and they’re all interactive tweeters. They’re taking it in turns to supply wines to the Twitter tastings series.
You can buy the bottle here on the Curious Wines website, which also has all the details you may want to know.
I hasten to add that geography is no barrier as the Thursday deadline is for delivery anywhere in the republic. Those nearer Bandon Co Cork can pop by and buy their bottle over the counter up to Saturday at 6pm.
On a bigger scale *harrumphs and adopts serious disposition* you might like to pour another glass and reflect that Twitter is changing the way information and opinion is shared. I look at just some aspects of that phenomenon here.
But for now I’m going to don my top hat and conduct a wine tasting by telegraph… And that’s another story