What’s happening in the world of wine, wine tastings, and wine related events.

Included below are details about events, consumer tastings, and meetings that are happening throughout 2013 and beyond.


The Wine Experience Trip to France
Vineyard Visit – Domaine Sainte Rose, Languedoc

While most of Britain were turning on the central heating in mid September, 16 wine lovers were heading for the south of France in the capable hands of Ian and Liz of The Wine Experience.

Destination was a vineyard that is regularly winning awards for their wines despite 2005 only being their 4th vintage. Domaine de Sainte Rose is an exclusive viticultural estate situated in the Languedoc and just 15 minutes drive from the Mediterranean.

Apertifs before DinnerThe morning was spent on a walking tour of the vineyard areas seeing the different type of vine and learning first hand about vineyard management and the hard work that goes on in this high quality / low volume domaine.

The owners Charles and Ruth Simpson had the foresight to start the harvest early since the Chardonnay, Roussane and Merlot were ready in late August this year. Many of their neighbours delayed until September as is traditional, and suffered the torrential rains and waterlogged vineyards that followed. See Ruth’s local weather report on Jancis Robinson’s web site.

Lunch and more wine!Tasting at the Domaine

The Syrah and Grenache were still on the vines but survived the storms well and certainly tasted great. A tutored tasting of some of their award winning wines rounded off the morning and sharpened the taste buds for some traditional French foods. A long lunch was soon underway under the shade of the plane trees in the courtyard in front of the domaine. This was a great opportunity to match more wines from the domaine with local foods.

Aperitives before DinnerA Food and Wine Experience - Fresh Osysters

The afternoon was taken up an in-depth tour of the winery. This was a unique opportunity to see a winery right in the middle of harvest, a time when most visitors are not welcomed. We saw the massive investment in state of the art wine press and stainless steel tanks together with the latest cooling and heating systems that allows precise temperature control in each tank. All of this being done while preserving the magnificent old buildings some of which date back to the 16th century.

Sunday LunchThe group almost took almost every room at the local hotel that has a reputation for fine food to the extent that that they usually are fully booked all year round. The hotel went out their way to lay on specific foods for us such as foie gras prepared in the traditional way and oysters prepared in various ways which lent itself to food and wine matching exercises over dinner.

On our second night we shared the restaurant with a team from Ulster Television who had been filming at Domaine Sainte Rose doing a feature on successful Irish businessmen abroad.

More information on Domaine Sainte Rose can be found at