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Latest Newspaper Article ““Ernest Hemingway and the New Zealand Wine Tasting”

November 12th, 2009

The Nationalist Newspaper, November 12 2009

The winter is upon us and my toes are very cold. The week since we last ‘chatted’ has been eventful to say the least. The website finally went live and I have been tweaking the little bits and pieces since. I imagine I will be changing it for the rest of my life. To quote Ernest Hemingway, we could call it “a moveable feast”. A successful website has to move and be very fluid. Lots of blogging and tweeting on Twitter. Basically, I have to write what you could call, the uncensored version of this article every 2 or 3 days and get people to click on the website as much as they can. Fun indeed for the computer generation both young and old.

I was watching something on TV this week and I heard another Hemingway quote I am ashamed to say I may have used once in a while; when I wore a younger mans clothes. “An intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend time with fools.” I lived in the Latin Quarter in Paris and was a bit of an Ernest Hemingway fan. Ernest was fond of wine and of writing. He famously led the American troops into Paris when they liberated the city in World War 2. His point of liberation had an exact address and he went straight for the cellars of the Ritz, which he personally liberated. They forgave him though, and named a bar after him. Our little 1 bedroom apartment in Paris was nowhere near the Ritz but it was a few steps away from Mr. Hemingway’s old apartment in the wonderful Mouffetard area of the city. Back then, I quite fancied myself the writer – the Irish exile, penning a seminal work that would never be understood in his lifetime – the usual story. However, the dreams of youth are so often quenched by the responsibility of being an adult. During this apprenticeship in wine, I came across and sadly repeated that quote on many training sessions. We all need an excuse of some sort. Looking back, I often wonder, if I was so intelligent, why did I leave? The fools are still in Paris and my feet are cold in a warehouse in Ireland. But good news will lift my spirits and yours as well I hope. The weather is very nice in New Zealand at the moment and we are having Joyce Austin (fresh off of the plane) back for a great tasting of New Zealand wines.

We had her over in June and it was a great success. As an added treat, we are going to going to have the tasting in Nuala’s café in Hickeys Bakery at the Westgate. The café has a lovely ambience and Nuala has promised some nice nibbles to accompany the wines. Tickets are only €10 ( this event is €20 in Dublin ) and as I write this, half the tickets are gone, and I haven’t advertised outside of the website yet. In preparation for this night, I will try to explain a little bit about what happens at these tastings. I know that sometimes people can feel a little intimidated. This is a shame as most tastings assume you know nothing, and a good presenter like Joyce will explain a little bit more after every wine and build up the knowledge and confidence slowly. In some tastings, you will be shown how to physically taste – i.e. all the swirling about and sucking air in as you taste. There is a good reason for all of this I assure you and nobody is expected not to spill a bit. No white clothes while tasting is always a good idea, and a special thanks to the gentleman who called in with the tip about removing the red wine stains. I hope he enjoyed the free bottle of wine. Back to the tasting and there will always be spittoons available for those who like to spit and I am confident that some day they will be used. A good tasting should always challenge the people who have some experience and there is always a chance to show off. The difference between dry and sweet or why certain wines have higher alcohol levels than others – put your hand up if you know. These questions and so many more can be answered if you are interested. If you are not then it is a chance to drink some very good wines for very little money and meet some truly fascinating people who love what they do in life.

For anyone who would like more information and can’t make it into the shop, please feel free to contact me at

“Life is much too short to drink bad wine”


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