lundi, 20, mars 2023

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The Dupont Circle

How the Irish Shaped the World of Wine: The Fascinating Tale of the Irish Wine Geese

Ireland might not have the right weather to grow wine grapes, but the country’s finest have surely added to the wine world

In the late 1600s, the Williamite War in Ireland, between protestants and Catholics, ended with the French army granting safe pass to 20,000 Irish Catholic soldiers and their families. These fleeting Irishmen settled throughout France and were called the Irish Wild Geese. Amongst these immigrants came entrepreneurs and wine enthusiasts that would change the world of wine forever — the Irish Wine Geese.

The Irish Wine Geese, a term coined as recently as 2005, is a hot topic. Irish newcomers played significant roles in shaping regions as meaningful as Bordeaux and Cognac, and we can still feel their influence, even outside France.

Wine being poured

The Story 

The year was 1688, and France was battling out against a European coalition. This was later called the Nine Years’ War, and experts consider it the actual first World War. Concisely, King Louis XIV of France wanted to expand his influence and territory under one religion and one ruler, himself – his neighbors didn’t agree.
Although the fighting took place all around Europe and even in the colonies, the conflict had a big impact on Ireland. The Williamites and Jacobites disputed the island’s control, somewhat joining the global conflict to settle their own quarrels.
At the same time, Bordeaux had just joined the Kingdom of France in 1653, soon to become a busy port and the center of the French wine trade. Little did they know they would get all the help they needed from the fleeting Irish Wine Geese. The setting was right for the rise of the French wine’s golden era. 

2 bottles of wine and 2 glasses

The First Irish Wine Geese 

The first Irish immigrants who impacted the beverage scene arrived in France. One of them, Richard Hennessy, retired to Cognac and set the foundation of one of the most renowned brandy brands on earth, Hennessy! Other entrepreneurs arrived in Bordeaux, and amongst them was Thomas Barton. 
Mr. Barton left Ireland in 1722 and set up shop as a wine negociant. The Barton family purchased numerous vineyards, which would later become an immense estate, eventually divided into the famous Leoville Barton itself and the equally fashionable Leoville Las Cases and Leoville Poyferre. If you know your Bordeaux, you know these are some of the big names.
The Barton’s were not alone. An Irish knight, Tobie Clarke, purchased the now Château Clarke in 1818, giving the estate and its age-worthy wine their name. Another Irishman, John Lynch, from Galway, founded Château Lynch-Bages, and this is just the tip of the iceberg; over a dozen high-level estates in Bordeaux have Irish blood running through their veins. 

Wine and glass

Irish Wine in America 

The Irish certainly shaped the wine industry in the old world, but many Irish immigrants have contributed to the global wine scene elsewhere. In a way, the Irish Wine Geese phenomenon never stopped. Over four hundred years after the original Wine Geese, talented Irish people continue to elevate the wine industry’s standards. 
Among our favorite Irish winemakers outside France, there’s Nancy Cline, from County Cork, who, with her husband Fred, founded Cline Family Cellars in Oakley, California, in 1982 — they’re amongst the original Rhone Rangers! But that’s another story. 
Jim Allen, from County Donegal, founded Sequoia Grove in George Yount’s original estate, a Napa pioneer. Then you have Jim Barrett from County Waterford; he is behind Chateau Montelena, which defeated the French in the memorable Judgment of Paris Blind Tasting of 1976!
And these are only a few of the modern Wine Geese in the United States. A well-known winemaker, Irish-born John McKenna, from County Monaghan, forged his own path in South America, first as a Military hero and then as part of Chile’s wine history — his granddaughter married into the Errázuriz family, founders of the prestigious Viña Errázuriz winery. It really is a small world we live in.

View of a lake

Explore The Wines Yourself 

Ireland might not have the right weather to grow wine grapes, but the country’s finest have surely added to the wine world. If you want to taste Irish Wine Geese wine, explore our curated wine selection at The Pembroke. Every wine bottle is unique and has an intricate origin — let the wine tell its own story! After all, wine is more than fermented grape juice; it’s also history, culture and tradition.