Julie Dupouy has high praise for these local wine merchants …
A sense of belonging is a basic human need. This month, I tip my hat to wine businesses, the people behind them and the huge efforts that were made by them, to keep the community engaged and catered for throughout such an unnatural time over the past two years. If you have a good local wine shop near you, visit it! A whole new world will open up, and a valuable connection will be made. I couldn’t mention every wine business I admire, of course, but here is just a flavour …
Main photo credit: Blackrock Cellar Instagram
H2G WINES AND ARTISAN MARKET, GLASNEVIN, DUBLIN 9.
The H2G food market was founded in 2009 by Brid and Colm Carter, both evacuees from the corporate world. From the very start, their ethos has been to shine a light on off-the-beaten-track regions and grapes. They also like to work with producers who have a more natural approach. Ninety per cent of their wine range is made from organically farmed grapes. “We like to try to take the snobbishness out of wine without diluting the excitement. After all, we are just a conduit for farmers selling their produce!” says Brid. Discover top class examples of Xinomavro, Bonicaire and Bovale, alongside more familiar styles. A broad selection of food from Ireland’s top artisan producers offers all you need to round out the perfect supper. www.h2gwines.ie
ELEVEN DELI, GREYSTONES, CO WICKLOW.
In addition to delicious sandwiches and coffee, worth a journey in themselves, Eleven Deli offers a selection of artisan cheeses, meats, olives, vinegars, pasta and condiments. Owner Barry Hargadon explains that inspiration came from the Italian delis he visited with his wife while travelling through Italy in 2015. The wine selection started off small, with around 20 different offerings, and has grown close to 300 wines with a focus on organic and biodynamic at a very fair price point. With only tight space available, every bottle which makes the cut is there because Hargadon and his team are very excited about it. Expect vibrant wines with personality and great drinkability. www.elevendeli.ie
64 WINE, GLASTHULE, CO DUBLIN.
A former member of An Garda Síochána, Gerard Maguire made the move to follow a long-held personal passion in 2006 and opened 64 Wine. “I was tired of drinking massproduced wine, wine that had a regional distinction on the label but tasted like wine made all over theworld,” he says. Maguire supports small artisan producers through his careful selection and over the past two years, great efforts were made by the 64 team to keep the heart of Glasthule beating. 64’s Twitter account is a window into the world of Gerard’s sharp and charming wit; its blackboard messages are always sure to raise a smile on the face of passers-by. Among other thoughtful pandemic-period initiatives, a children’s art competition brought colour to the village Anthony Robineau, now a co-owner, brings charm and a depth of experience while focusing on developing the dining experience. The shelves are packed with characterful wines, all of a very high quality. For those seeking rare treats, a visit to the fine wine room is a joyous experience. www.64wine.ie
BLACKROCK CELLAR, BLACKROCK, CO DUBLIN.
After Oddbins went into liquidation in 2011, the locals were delighted that Joël Durand, formerly one of the Oddbins’s team, had reopened their off-licence. “The locals have been continuously supporting us since the start. Many of our staff over the years came from the area and we have been active in the local business network.” Blackrock Cellar is renowned for its superb wine selection, largely dedicated to smaller, environmentally conscious producers. From experience, Durand also knew that there was a growing market for craft beers. Starting out with around 70 offerings, the shop now sells approximately 500 different craft beers as well as traditional European classics from Germany and Belgium. Ask for advice. Their knowledge is second to none. www.blackrockcellar.com
GREEN MAN WINE, TERENURE, DUBLIN 6W.
In 2015, David Gallagher and his late wife Claire O’Boyle realised their dream of opening a small shop specialising in wines produced as naturally as possible. They also wanted to offer wines bythe glass and some small tasty bites in a relaxed environment which offered good value and a perpetually evolving list to keep things fresh and exciting for regulars. They quickly established a loyal customer base, many of whom have become friends as well as customers. When Claire sadly passed away in 2020, the Irish wine industry lost one of its brightest aficionados. who brought a great depth of knowledge and vision to GMW. Today, David continues their common business dream with the support of his open-minded, knowledgeable and wonderfully personable team. GMW carries a superbly eclectic range and you can be sure that if there are only a few bottles knocking about of something very special, GMW is likely to have nabbed a few. www.greenmanwines.ie
ELY WINE SHOP, MAYNOOTH, CO KILDARE.
The first Ely Wine Bar, opened in 1999, was a precursor in making “finer wines” available by the glass. In 2019, Erik Robson and his team brought the “Ely Wine experience” to Maynooth, Co Kildare. Ely Wine Store is a shop, wine bar and neighbourhood café; if dining in, the corkage model applies. Ely has been working for many years with local wine suppliers and are now also importing exciting organic wines (“displaying freshness and finesse,” says Robson) directly from Spain, France and Italy. www.elywinebar.ie
SOME MUST-VISITS OUTSIDE DUBLIN…
Le Caveau (Kilkenny), Green Acres (Wexford), Sheridans Wine Bar & Shop (Galway), The Lamplight Wine Bar and Shop (Clifden), The Winery (Navan), The Black Pig Wine Bar (Kinsale), McCurtain Wine Cellar (Cork), L’Atitude 51 Wine Café (Cork).
? If you love a particular wine shop, nominate it for THE GLOSS X Shopkeepers.com list. Visit www.thegloss.ie/bestshops