Your place or mine?

TWO wine events this week. Both are based in Cork, but while one is taking place in a restaurant, the other will happen in your front room. Or indeed anywhere in Ireland.

Villa Maria wine tasting dinner

Link to the Villa Maria Estate website

WINE dinners. What’s that all about? Well, to them (winery, importer and restaurant) it’s a good promotional tool, and they’re very happy to subsidise the fun. To us (fun-seekers and wine fans) it can be an extraordinarily good value night out.  Case in point – the very affordable €55 tab for a five-course dinner accompanied by wines from New Zealand’s multi-award winning Villa Maria Estate at The Boardwalk Bar & Grill on Lapp’s Quay in Cork, tonight, Wednesday March 3.

I’m took a look at some smashing wines from the perpetually impressive Villa Maria in Saturday’s Irish Examiner. One of the things I love about the winery is the consistent quality they deliver at their lowest Private Bin level which retail for around €11.99.

Villa Maria Private Bin Hawkes Bay Merlot Cabernet

Merlot Cabernet

I love the balance of their aromatics – riesling, gewürztraminer and pinot blanc – and how their fruity, floral character is counterweighted by dense luscious textures. The sauvignon blanc is a firm, citrussy classic. And Villa Maria also reflects New Zealand’s increasing confidence with merlot and cabernet and other red varietals outside the pinot noir box.

I’m not sure of the line-up of wines on the night but I suspect those attending tonight will also be tasting some from among higher Cellar Selection and Reserve tiers of the Villa Maria range. The evening begins at 7pm with a cocktail reception followed by dinner at 8pm, and Charlotte Read of Villa Maria will be introducing the wines to accompany each of the five courses.

Tickets are €55 per person and places are limited. Book by phone on 021 4279990, via email to, and see The Boardwalk‘s site for further details.

[] The wines of Villa Maria are imported by Barry & Fitzwilliam, and stockists include: Waterford Ardkeen Stores;  Cork O’Driscolls, Ballinlough; Nationwide Carry Out Off-Licences;  Dunnes Stores; Super Valu; Centra and Superquinn. ♦


Blind tasting via Twitter

THIS week’s second wine event (it’s on Sunday, but you better get your ass in gear now if you want to take part) is hallmarked by one giant novelty — it’s taking place via Twitter. Notwithstanding this mad and utterly fabulous YouTube video, an online tasting follows essentially the same course as any other, the big difference being that it takes place in the comfort of your own home.

Wine USB - whatever next?

Video showing how you can get wine delivered via your USB...

Despite being competitors, three wine firms based in Cork – Bubble Brothers, Curious Wines, and Karwig’s –  have a happy track record in co-operating on promotions, including the big wine show they co-hosted in Cork last Autumn. But they’ve also been running #twebt a series of Twitter-only blind wine tastings.

The third one takes place this – Sunday March 7 – at 9pm, and the bottle this time is supplied (carefully wrapped so you can’t see its identity) by Karwig Wines. Order it before noon today (Wednesday March 3) from and it’ll be delivered anywhere nationwide for €19. Or if you’re in the area, you can buy it at Karwig’s shop between Crosshaven and Carrigaline for €15 at any time up to next Saturday.

Sign up to Twitter and follow @Karwigwines and ask them any questions you may have; or search for “#twebt” where you will find links to websites and videos showing how the event works. ♦


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