The Kit-Kat conundrum


Is it a biscuit or a bar? The controversy still rages.

ONCE upon a time, adverts for Kit-Kat posed the question, “Is it a biscuit or a bar?”  going on to answer this query with the tagline “just enjoy it”.

This you might recognise as a tribute act to the concept of wave particle duality. But hastily putting quantum physics to one side, the Kit-Kat conundrum sums up the best spirit in which to enjoy any of the heap of pre-Christmas wine tastings coming up. They’re great fun and great value, regardless of whether you use them as

♥ a sociable night out with your crew in a one-off pop-up wine bar, or
♥  a serious tasting session to expand your repertoire and pick the best quality/value wines to buy for the festive season.

Cork Wine Fair

Mary Pawle Organic Wines - just one of the stands at Cork Wine Fair



The big one in my parish is of course the 10th Cork Wine Fair, O’Donovan’s annual fiesta of wine (plus beer and food) which takes over first floor of the Clarion Hotel on Thursday. But there are lots of other wine fairs all over the place. Variations on the theme range from the massive week-long food and drinks event all around Ranelagh to very useful instore events such as the ones at Curious Wines and Simply Wines. There’s bound to be one for you. Whether you treat it as a biscuit or bar – just enjoy it.

Please send info about tastings / dinners etc to blake[dot]creedon[at]examiner[dot]ie. Thank you!

Sunday, November 14 Corkscrew Winter Wine Fair

This is the annual winter wine fair of one of the best remaining independent wine shops in Dublin city centre, The Corkscrew on Chatham Street. A hundred-plus wines will be open for tasting from 1pm to 6pm at the Westbury Hotel just around the corner. Tickets are €25, and proceeds go to Cheeverstown House, Templeogue, which offers education and support to children with intellectual and other disabilities from pre-school age up. Drop into the shop, phone 01 674 5731 or see for details.

Monday to Friday (November 15 to 19) — Ranelagh Uncorked! Wine Festival

THIS massive event encompasses tastings, dinners and promotions  all round the village. The participants include  Diep Noodle Bar;  Dillingers; Eatery 120;  McSorley’s pub; Pinnochio restaurant and wine bar; Russell’s pub;  Tribenca and the Wild Goose Grill. The packed schedule includes a wine table quiz and the certified wine tasting course, and it’s all in aid of Down Syndrome Ireland,  Movember and the Irish Hospice Foundation.

Thursday, November 18 Cases Christmas Wine Fair

Fifteen importers will be pouring 120 wines and beers at Cases Wine Warehouse Christmas Wine Fair in store at Riverside Commercial Estate, Tuam Road,  Galway  on Thursday  November 18 from 6.30pm to 10 pm.  Tickets are €20, and all proceeds go to Galway  Console, the charity offering support to people bereaved by suicide. As well as an opportunity to sample some 100 wines, there will be appetisers from Cava Restaurant, live entertainment, a blind tasting competition and a 5% discount on all purchases on the night.

Thursday, November 18The 10th Cork Wine Fair

This annual event is a massive affair. This year’s takes place from 4pm to 9pm on November 18 at the Clarion Hotel, Lapp’s Quay, Cork.  Some 400 wines from O’Donovans’ impressive list will be available to sample, along with beers and tasty food samples. Plus, for the really dedicated wine fan, there will be a handful of focused masterclasses conducted by Jean Smullen and John McDonnell.  Tickets are €10 and available from any of the 15 O’Donovans branches in Cork City and county, or phone 021 4296060. All proceeds go to the Cork Simon Community.

November 18 to 20 — Simply Wine Warehouse Wine Fair

THIS is a big showcase of wines from the portfolio of one of Ireland’s great wine importers. It takes place from Thursday to Saturday, November  18 to 20 at Simply Wines’ premises at Ballyogan Business Park (Exit 15 off the M50) in  Dublin 18. The warehouse will be open until 9pm on Thursday and Friday, and until 7pm on Saturday. Phone 01 295 9730 or see

Friday November 19 — Kilkenny Wine Fair

The Wine Centre in Kilkenny is hosting its 12th annual Wine Fair on Friday 19 November from 6.30pm at the Newpark Hotel, Castlecomer Road, Kilkenny. More than 75 wines, beers and spirits will be available to taste. Get tickets (€10) from The Wine Centre on John Street,   and all proceeds go to the Lion’s Club Christmas Hamper Appeal.  Phone 056 77 22907, or see

Friday November 19 — La Touche Wines’ Christmas Wine Fair

Greystones Lawn Tennis Club is the venue for the La Touche fair on  Friday November 19. Taste from more than 80 wines, as well as a selection of  Sheridan’s cheeses and more – all in aid of Greystones Cancer Support, Wicklow Hospice and St Brigid’s NS.   Tickets (€10) are available from La Touche Wines, Greystones. Phone 01 2873826 or click the ‘Events’ tab on

Saturday, November 20 — Curious Wines Christmas Wine Fair

The  Curious Wines Christmas Wine Fair takes place in store near Smyths Toys off the Kinsale Road roundabout in Cork city on Saturday November 20 from noon to 6pm, with dozens of wines open to try, along with  tasty bites from local food producers and more.  Tickets are €15, refundable when you spend €100 or more. Phone 021 432 0233 or see

November 24Gibney’s Wine Fair,  the Grand Hotel, Malahide

The people at Gibney’s of Malahide know what they’re talking about: This year they won the NOffLA Off-Licence of the Year Award for their third time, and their annual fair is one of the most highly anticipated wine events in the calendar.  Get tickets (€15) and further details in store, on 01 8450606, or via All proceeds from ticket sales go to local schools.


Wednesday December 1 — Blake’s Favourite Fifty Australians, Cork

THIS is a rare opportunity for me to thrust a glass into your hand, saying “here, try this, will ya?”  Inspiring people to swirl and sniff and discover delights in a glass of wine is what I always aspire to do in my column, and so this fun open-ended wine tasting event is a rare, tangible fulfilment of that aim.

Here’s how it came about: John McDonnell at Wine Australia Ireland, which represents much of the industry, has given me free rein to put together a list of wines from down under. The final list actually comprises 65 wines (and even that figure took some whittling, believe me)  all of which will be open for tasting on that evening.
It takes place on Wednesday, December 1, from 6pm to 8.30pm at the Cork School of Music on Union Quay.  That venue is pretty special. It’s the gorgeous award-winning building which wouldn’t have been put up but for the long, creative campaign by parents, students and, in particular, teachers.

Tickets (€20) from Wine Australia Ireland on 065 7077264 or at


November 26 to 28Taste of Christmas, the Convention Centre, North Wall Quay, Dublin

This is a bit different to the other fairs. Sponsored by Marks & Spencer, it’s being run by the people behind the Taste Of Dublin and Taste Of Cork festivals.

The centrepiece is a 50-minute live show in the 2000-seater auditorium.  Presenter Hector Ó hEochagáin will be mixing it up with chefs Kevin Dundon and Gino D’Acampo and guests (including Heston Blumenthal) who will be demonstrating inspiration for cooking and entertaining.

There are also open-ended tastings organised along the lines of the Taste festivals where customers buy ‘florins’ to exchange for food and drinks. Tickets start at €19.50.  The whole thing is quite a bit more structured than regular wine fairs, so do phone 0818 30 00 30 or look up for details. ♦


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