Once upon a time, this is how it all began.
Once upon a time, this is how it all began.It has taken nearly ten years for the seed of wine making in Ireland to grow and bloom into four beautiful golden blends. But there is no rush, everything comes in its own good time.I was born and bred in my family’s vineyard but, to tell the truth, I never had anything to do with it, as my interest was else where, in the worlds of art and art history.
I do remember though, as a child, picking grapes after school and on days off, (we did not have school on Wednesdays atthe time) with the whole family and our seasonal staff, my grandparents, my parents, my sister and my brother, who was already in a winemaking school.Everybody would have lunch together and my grandfather would add a drop of wine into my glass of water to accustom my palate to the taste of wine. I do not recommend that you try this, it is particularly unpleasant. I believe now that it may have been part of a cunning plan to put me off alcohol. As a result, I never liked wine and alcohol until adulthood. So, if that was the aim, it certainly worked. I have never subjected my children to this treatment, I have to say.
When I met Daniel in my student years, it became apparent that I was ignorant in the area of wine tasting and not the expert that everyone in his circle of friends and family expected me to be. SoI had to catch up fast. Not by going to wine tasting classes, but by discovering wines from all over France and the rest of the world with fine meals. There isno better way, in truth!
Moving on swiftly, in 2010 Daniel started making cider in Nohoval and my first reaction was: “I’ll have nothing to do with it”. I don’t drink cider anyway and my interest was still elsewhere in the art and craft world. I don’t think I had ever drunk cider apart from the very occasional “cidre Breton” in the creperie, served in a rustic ceramic bowl.
Daniel very cleverly dragged me into it without me realising. I was only “helping” at first but then became fully part of the Stonewell cider team. I even grew to appreciate cider to the point of liking it. There was no way back!
Creating and combining new flavours was exciting. Mixing and matching, tasting, and imagining which ingredient would marry well with apples became a great guessing game. Some combinations were successful, some were disappointing, some were simply not good.
Our first attempt at making a single variety apple wine came when we tasted the Elstar base cider before mixing it and realised it was very pleasant, dry, fresh and crisp with citrus notes.After all, our way of processing apples is the same as fermenting grapes into wine.
But we had to concentrate on the cider side of the business at the time, so we parked the apple wine idea until the moment was right.
Tawny was our first real Irish Apple wine product, flavoured with hops. It turned out to be quite a success, and the Elstar wine became the next apple wine in the range. In 2019 we created the Nohoval Wine brand to incorporate Tawny and Elstar with our Nohoval Oak wine matured in French oak barrels, and finally the Arctic Ice Cider, made in collaboration with Brannland in Sweden, also matured in our French oak barrels.
So now I am taking charge of the Nohoval wines, while Daniel concentrates on broadening the ever-growing Stonewell Cider range. I am so excited to embark in this new adventure of apple wine making inIreland and I invite you to taste them with good Irish food and good company. We may not have grapes in Ireland, but we have beautiful orchards, and this is just as well. Á votre santé!