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28% of Irish people are drinking less wine than they did a year ago

At this time of year, wine consumption is front and centre of celebrations, but it's been a turbulent couple of years in the wine trade and its effect on the Irish wine drinking public. It has been found that the number of consumers who would stop buying a particular brand of wine almost doubles with each €1 increase in price!

Below are the results taken from the Wolf Blass & Lindeman’s Wine Intelligence Survey carried out in Ireland in July 2013 where 1,038 wine drinkers were canvassed about their wine drinking habits and perceptions.

Though the results are not a surprise to most in the industry, it is nevertheless alarming to have general perceptions confirmed so baldly. The survey was commissioned by Wolf Blass and Lindeman’s wines, two of the most popular brands in Ireland and firm favourites with consumers for their unbeatable balance of quality, taste and price.


Of 2.3 million drinkers in Ireland, 71% of Irish adults drink wine. Of this, 1.9 million are regular wine drinkers. So, 60% of Irish adults drink wine at least once per month.
This is compared to:
78% of adults drink wine in England, 73% in Holland, 86% in Sweden and 91% in Denmark.


Irish adults drink around 17 litres of wine per year compared to:
France 45 litres, Portugal 42 litres, Italy 41 litres, Germany 25 litres, U.K 21 litres per adult per year.

Changes in frequency of wine consumption: 
28% of people are drinking less wine than they did a year ago. Under 35s consumers are drinking more wine while 55+ are drinking the same amount.

The reasons given for drinking less wine than before were:
I generally drink less alcohol (59%)
Wine has become too expensive (27%)
Wine is bad for health (13%)
The people I’m usually with drink less wine (11%)
The quality of many wines has declined (3%)
The wine I like is no longer available (2%)
Other reason (12%)

In the 4 weeks before the survey, the respondants consumed the following beverages:
72% Still white wine, 65% Still red wine, 65% beer, 47% spirits (not pre-mixed), 38% Cider, 17% Sparkling White

In the 6 months before the survey, respondents have drank wine from the following countries:
France 62% Chile 55%
Australia 51% Spain 46%
Italy 46% New Zealand 30%
USA 30% Argentina 19%
Portugal 14%

Irish Consumers find the following important when making choice:
91% - Quality of wine
89% - The taste
87% - The price
75% - Colour
69% - Promotional Offer
58% - Recommended by friend/family
58% - A brand I’m aware of
55% - Country of origin
52% - It accompanies food I’m preparing
46% - Grape variety I’m aware of

The Importance of occasions: 
7 out of 10 wine consumers will buy differently depending on the occasion. 1 million Irish people drank Australian wine in 6 months prior to the survey.
Brand awareness: Four Australian brands feature in top ten including WolfBlass & Lindeman’s


The number of consumers who would stop buying a brand almost doubles with each €1 increase. 44% of people are spending more on wine that they did one year ago. 42% spend the same and 14% spend less on wine.

Attitudes towards special offers or promotions:
Familiarity is a major driver but can be over-ridden by price and promotions:
42% - Generally same store but I will look at offers from other stores
40% - I take advantage of promotions but only on my favourite brands
32%- Take advantage of promotions no matter what the brand
29%- I take advantages of promotions but only on my favourite country/region
26%- I always check offers before deciding where to shop
24%- I take advantages of promotions but only on my favourite grape variety

Source: WolfBlass & Lindeman’s Wine Intelligence Survey, Ireland, July 2013, base = 1,038 Irish regular wine drinkers via


WIN an Irish Hand-Crafted Wooden Pen from Turning Point Design

Turning Point Design, in Laghey, Co Donegal, was created by my friend Michael Doherty after he retired. He has been wood turning for over 10 years. Spending most of his time in his workshop, Michael spends hours creating pieces of art. He ensures that each is finished to a high standard and when he's done with a piece he signs them all so that wherever in the world it might end up, he feels that its still connected to him.

Michael is also environmentally conscious. He believes that trees are a beautiful and important part of the natural landscape. "Trees protect our world by preventing erosion and providing shelter in and under their foliage for all the natural flora and fauna of the area, he says. "They also play an important role in producing oxygen and reducing carbon dioxide in the air around us.. so why would we chop them down just for art?"

Michael will only use wood from trees that have fallen naturally, have been blown down  in storms or from trees which needed to be cut down due to health and safety reason or for development purposes.

He believes his function is to release the beauty of the wood so that it may remain forever a testament to its self. You can be sure that any product you buy from him didn't come from a tree that was chopped down for the sake of wood turning. They are all just beautiful hand crafted by-products!

Michael also does commission work. If you have a suitable piece of wood with sentimental value in your garden, or elsewhere, Michael can turn this into a piece which will hold its sentimentality for decades. Do take a look at the commission section of his website for more info and samples of previous commissioned pieces.

I offered to write a post for Michael's Turning Point Design to help him get some attention for his work and he offered me a gift to give away as a prize. So I have a superb hand-turned Beech Wood Pen to give away to one lucky winner before Christmas.

To Enter: Simply Click the LIKE button to "Like" Turning Point Design on Facebook
And Leave a Contact Detail in the Comments Box Below. If you're not on Facebook just Leave a Comment and your Name. 

One Winner will be picked out on Monday 16th December, so make sure you leave a contact detail in the comments. For more on Michael Doherty and Turning Point Design see His online shop is coming soon and you can contact him through his Facebook page

Good Luck


And the Winner of the Pen (picked by random number generator) is .... Evelyn Egan
Thanks to all who entered. I'll be contacting the winner to get postal details.

Foodie Quiz on Monday 2nd December in County Donegal

Think you know your Blaa from your Baps? Can you name the ingredients for a classic Bouquet Garni?

If you love your food and all things foodie you'll have to get yourself down to the Village Tavern in Mountcharles, 4 miles west of Donegal Town, for a fundraising All Food Quiz on Monday night!

In aid of the Northwest Culinary Team for Olympia, the quiz starts at 7.30pm and the entry fee for teams of four is simply by donation. The Chefs, all based in the Northwest of Ireland have come together and founded a new Regional Culinary Team which intends to compete as an independent Culinary Team at Hotelympia, London, in April 2014.

Joe Clinton, Dee Clinton, Gabriel McSharry, Billy Grimes

John Kelly, Alan Fitzmaurice, Tony Campbell, Sylvester Dolan

The Northwest Culinary Team comprises some of the top chefs from counties Donegal , Leitrim & Sligo who have all taken part, very successfully, in international culinary competitions in the past. Earlier this year the North West Culinary team took 4 Golds, 4 Silvers and 6 Bronze Medals at the Chef Ireland International competition held in the RDS Dublin. From this achievement was born their desire to enter a team into one of the world’s most prestigious culinary competitions, Hotelympia.

Enda O'Rouke, proprietor/chef at the Village Tavern, has been at the forefront of developing the reputation of County Donegal as a food destination for many years. His restaurant serves some of the best local food in the county and Enda is always on the look out for new producers and products to use on his menus. Some of the award winning chefs on the Northwest Culinary Team have work in the Village Tavern over the years and Enda is delighted to be able to help them raise funds for their trip to London next year.

"I have great believe in the Northwest culinary team", said Enda. " These chefs are at the top of their game and as I see them develop their food strategy for the Hotelympia competitions I have full faith in them coming back with several gold medals. Any thing I can do to help them raise the funds to go I will do. If anyone out there wants to help or make a donation I would encourage them to do so".

The Foodie Quiz in the Village Tavern, Mountcharles, starts at 7.30pm on Monday, 2nd December, with the entry fee for Teams of 4 being by donation. You can make a donation to the Chefs Fund of as much as you wish!

Do support this excellent venture and test your foodie friends out for what they really know!


New Belfast Restaurant, The Malt Room, gives all Profits to Charity

Belfast businessman Lord Diljit Rana and chef/restaurateur Raymond McArdle have joined up to open The Malt Room Bar & Restaurant on Great Victoria Street in what they hope will be the start of a new revival of the Belfast city’s Golden Mile. The fascinating and unique element to this restaurant is that all profits will be given to charity!

The new restaurant, led by head chef David Mageean and general manager Liam Whiteway, welcomed a large crowd of Belfast food-lovers who turned out recently for it's launch event and enjoyed a taster of what's to come.

The Malt Room plans to provide a refined dining experience with a modern and local twist. “We are excited at the opportunity that Lord Rana has given us in putting Great Victoria Street back on the map as the Golden Mile," said Raymond. "I didn't want to go down the road of being another bistro or brassiere because the market is already saturated with great offers at that level. At the Malt Room you’re going to get Irish-influenced food that’s still bespoke and littered with artisan producers.”

General Manager at the Malt Room Liam Whiteway with Raymond McArdle & head chef David Mageean

The restaurant's aim is "beautiful comfort and contemporary food at an affordable price". Food on the menu is all sourced using local artisan producers, such as Leggygowan Farm goat’s cheese, Rockvale chicken, smoked Armagh bacon, Antrim Shorthorn beef, Mourne Blackface lamb, Award-winning Hannon Meats and many more. The wine list is provided by two of the best wine merchants in Belfast - James Nicholson and Robert Neill. Click here for The Malt Room menus.

Mr Rana and Raymond feel very strongly about giving the proceeds to charity and to invest in young people locally and internationally. Raymond is an ambassador for Barnardo’s Northern Ireland and has been supporting young chefs from Barnardo's Dr B's Kitchen for a number of years, offering trainee placements in his kitchens. At the Malt Room they has already taken on three young chefs through the scheme.

Raymond said: “Barnardo’s approached me to see if I would train any of their budding young chefs. Between myself and David we have been working with three young individuals; training them properly, so that they can slot into the team. I thought it was a good idea, because I’m training people that have no experience and therefore no bad habits! It’s a good scheme for us and them. They are here to learn and gain great experience for the future.” 

Belfast businessman Diljit Rana
Diljit Rana was awarded an MBE in 1996 for his contribution to the economic regeneration of the city of Belfast through the development of hotels, restaurants, fashion shops and modern office accommodation. He came to Belfast in 1966 in search of business opportunities. His first enterprise was a restaurant in Belfast city centre. By the start of 1971 he had three restaurants in the city. The business has grown to be one of Northern Ireland's biggest hotel chains. Andras House, which now employs over 350 people, also has extensive commercial property in Belfast.

Raymond McArdle with Head Chef David Mageean after the opening service at the Malt Room

Raymond McArdle is well known in Ireland's food scene and he has successfully represented Northern Ireland in the Great British menu 2012, 2013 and 2014. He also runs his own critically acclaimed restaurant, Restaurant 23 at the Balmoral Hotel, in Warrenpoint, County Down.

Head chef at the Malt Room, David Mageean has been with Raymond for seven years and will be taking full control of the Malt Room kitchen under the guidance of Raymond.

The Malt Room Bar & Restaurant is open Monday to Saturday for lunch, early evening menu and A La Carte menu, but closed Sunday. See their website at
For bookings phone +44 (028) 9031 0008.


21 year old Mark Moriarty from The Greenhouse Restaurant wins Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year 2013

21 year old Mark Moriarty from The Greenhouse Restaurant, was today awarded the prestigious title of Euro-toques Young Chef of the Year 2013 at an exclusive event titled “Carnival of Memories” at Google Ireland’s Garage Cafe, in Dublin 2.

Winner of the 2013 Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year, Mark Moriarty
Mark is from Blackrock Co Dublin and works as a Chef de Partie in The Greenhouse Restaurant, situated just off St.Stephens Green Dawson St, Dublin 2

Mark was a runner up in the final of Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year last year and is delighted with his triumph. "To make this final stage with the other four finalists was an honour in itself and right now it’s still sinking in that I have just been awarded the title of Euro-toques Young Chef of the Year 2013, " he said after the award presentation.

Mark was one of five finalists who battled it out over the past three months to win this esteemed titleThe other four finalists in this year's competition were:
  • Kevin Burke (aged 24 from Castleknock, Dublin 15) Chef de Partie, Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, Merrion Hotel
  • Paula Leavy (aged 26 from Dromcondra Dublin 9) Chef de Partie from Locks Brasserie
  • Brian O’Flaherty (aged 24 Barntown in Co Wexford) Commis Chef in Restaurant Forty One
  • Grainne O’Keefe (aged 22 from Blanchardstown, Dublin 15) Junior Sous Chef in Pichet

One of the best female Chefs in the world, Elena Arzak, presented the award

Elena Arzak, World’s Best Female Chef 2012 and joint head chef at three Michelin star restaurant Arzak, was on hand to award Mark the distinguished title which includes a stage at ALMA, the International School of Italian cuisine in Colorno Italy, headed by world renowned chef Gualtiero Marchesi, amongst other exciting opportunities.

The judging panel included Elena Arzak, Michelin-starred Ross Lewis of Chapter One, Euro-Toques President Wade Murphy, Marc Amand, MD of La Rousse Foods and Lorcan Cribbin of Unicorn. The panel was chaired by Neil McFadden.

Speaking at the final Mark Moriarty said,  "I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the competition and would definitely say that is has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my career to date not to mention the most challenging! To get the chance to work and learn from Ireland’s top chefs has been invaluable and 2014 is now set to be a memorable year with my stage in ALMA under the guidance of the great Gualtiero Marchesi.”

Now in its 23rd year, the theme of this year’s Euro-Toques competition was "Food Memories". The competition, in association with Failte Ireland, looks to find a young food ambassador for Ireland who can contribute to developing an identity for Irish cooking and promote Ireland’s culinary reputation at home and abroad.

A special event celebrating Irish cooking took place on Sunday evening at Google Dublin to mark the 2013 Euro-toques Young Chef of the Year and announce the winner. Guests were treated to a champagne reception and a 5-course meal prepared by the finalists and their restaurants based on the theme "Food Memories".

President of Euro-Toques Ireland, Chef Wade Murphy, Chef/Owner of 1826 Adare

Commenting at the final, Wade Murphy, President of Euro-toques Ireland said, “This year’s Euro-toques Young Chef of the Year competition focused on Food Memories and we really wanted to see the finalists talents when it came to the interpretation of their own food memories from their childhood. Ireland in its own right is becoming a well-known culinary destination and we wanted to select finalists that can develop and add to this culinary revolution."

"The passion, talent and determination we have seen over the past few months has been astounding and these five finalists are set for great things in the coming years. All five finalists brought something different to the table but in the end Mark’s hard work and unique talent shone through and we were delighted to announce Mark as the overall winner of Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year 2013,” he added.

What is Euro-Toques?

Euro-toques, the European Community of Chefs, was established in Brussels in 1986 by a group of top chefs in Europe. Their purpose was to form a network of chefs committed to quality local food sourcing and to be a voice for the industry to protect Europe’s traditional foods and culinary heritage.

Myrtle Allen of Ballymaloe House was one of the founding members and went on to found Euro-toques Ireland the same year. Euro-toques Ireland lobbies on a variety of food policy issues and is heavily involved in education, focusing on food education for children and skills training for chefs, in addition to organizing food-related events and activities for both industry and the public.

For more information on the Euro-Toques and the Young Chef 2013 competition see


Winners of the Bord Bia Irish Food & Drinks Industry Awards 2013

The achievements and contributions of nine Irish food companies were recognised at the Bord Bia Food and Drink Awards held in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham tonight. The Awards, which are held every two years, are designed to reward excellence within the Irish food and drink industry across seven categories – Exporting, Branding, Entrepreneurial, Success at Home, Sustainability, Consumer Insight and Innovation. Over 250 industry representatives gathered for the event including the CEOs from some of Ireland’s leading food and drink companies such as Kerry, Glanbia, Irish Distillers, ABP, Dawn Meats and Kepak.

Opening the event the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Mr. Simon Coveney T.D. said “As ever with the food and drink industry, we are here to celebrate exceptional resilience and performance at the ‘Oscars’ of the sector. Individual food and drink companies, who are being recognised this evening, can take pride in their achievements in growth, in new business and even deeper insight into buyer needs and consumer trends.”

Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Mr. Simon Coveney T.D.
The Minister added “at a macro level, the record €9 billion exports achieved by food and drink companies in 2012 is likely to be surpassed this year, and the €12 billion target in Food Harvest 2020 is in sight. The opening up of new markets has been a key policy priority. Together with the successful conclusion of CAP and Common Fisheries Policy negotiations during the Irish Presidency, this provides greater certainty for food and drink businesses seeking to expand business sustainably on the Origin Green journey. “

Speaking at the event, Michael Carey, Chairman, Bord Bia said “This year’s Awards coincide with the fourth successive year of sustained growth in our food and drink exports. As the industry continues to develop and expand into new and emerging markets, it is important to recognise the continued progress and achievements of the sector.”

Category Award Winners
The Bord Bia Food and Drink Awards were open to all food and drink products manufactured in Ireland. This year, Bord Bia received in excess of 140 award entries across seven categories which were judged by an independent judging panel. The overall category award winners were:

Glenmar Shellfish, Winner of the Export Award
Export Award – Glenmar Shellfish. Based in Union Hall, Co. Cork and established over 30 years ago, Glenmar is currently exporting over 2,000 tonnes of shellfish each year to markets such as China, Hong Kong, Korea, Italy, Spain, France and Croatia. They export to seven overseas markets on a daily basis and exports account for 75% of company turnover.

Paganini for FitFuel, Winner of the Innovation Award
Innovation Award – Paganini for FitFuel, a protein enriched ice cream range. FitFuel Perform is a recovery product for sportspeople and recreational athletes, while FitFuel Nourish is used by healthcare professionals to boost the protein intake of patients. Paganini was founded by Wexford dairy farmer, Tomas Murphy in 1990 and today, in addition to its business in Ireland, they export to the UK and the Middle East.

Britvic Ireland for MiWadi, Winner of the Success At Home Award
Success at Home Award – Britvic Ireland for MiWadi, the number one dilute brand in Ireland. Miwadi impressed the judges with a 41% yearly average value market share, having achieved considerable success in recent years with the relaunch of MiWadi, and the launch of double concentrate and no added sugar flavours.

Dawn Meats, Winner of the Sustainability Award
Sustainability Award – Dawn Meats, the Waterford based meat exporter, has formalised its approach to sustainability and set a number of demanding targets as part of Origin Green, Bord Bia’s sustainability development programme for the Irish food and drink industry. Dawn Meats is working to reduce water use by 40%, reduce energy consumption by 40% and to reduce its direct carbon footprint by 50%.

Keelings, Winner of the Branding Award
Branding Award – Keelings, the family owned fresh produce business started producing fruits and salads in the 1930's and today the company employs approximately 2,000 people and has a turnover of €300 million per year. The Keelings brand, with its strapline “Love to Grow”, was launched into the produce category in 2010 and has become the most recognised brand for fruit and vegetables in Irish supermarkets.

Irish Sea Salt, Winner of the Entrepreneurial Award
Entrepreneurial Award – Irish Atlantic Salt. The O'Neill family developed this range of organic, gourmet Irish sea salt products, using the highest quality waters around the Beara Peninsula to create the only Irish-made white sea salt product available. By 2015, the company hopes export market revenues will represent 80% of total revenues.

Kerry Foods Cheestrings, Winner of the Consumer Insight Award
Consumer Insight Award – Kerry Foods for Cheestrings, a brand, worth approximately €90 million, and available in over 25,000 stores around the world. The judges were particularly impressed by the detailed consumer research undertaken by Kerry in advance of entering the German market. The resultant consumer insight helped build its product positioning which has led to 1 million packs being sold every month in leading German retailers.

Special Awards

James Whelan Butchers, Winner of a Special Online Champion Award
This year, Bord Bia introduced a new Award to reward an ‘Online Champion’, in recognition of the impact the digital age is having on the industry. Pat Whelan of James Whelan Butchers, Ireland’s first online butcher, was awarded the title as a ‘best in class’ example of how to increase sales and brand awareness through online and social media.

ABP Foods (Irl.), Winner of the Business Referral Award
Meanwhile, ABP Ireland was also honoured with the inaugural ‘Business Referral Award’, in recognition of their co-opetition efforts. Bord Bia is actively supporting the principle of co-opetition, where food companies work together to create synergies resulting in cost savings, improved returns and reputation, and increased market distribution. ABP Ireland introduced Wexford based sheep meat company, Irish Country Meats, to a European foodservice client in order to address a supply issue for their customer. Irish Country Meats now deliver Irish lamb weekly to this foodservice client.

Congratulating the award winners, Aidan Cotter, Chief Executive, Bord Bia described their achievements as “a fitting showcase of an industry on the rise, building success at home and abroad, and positioning food and drink firmly at the centre of our economic recovery. It is this talent, imagination and sheer professionalism that is at the heart of the industry’s current success and that will secure its continued growth and expansion”.


34 Pubs in Ireland included in the new Michelin Eating Out in Pubs Guide for 2014

A Pub, is a Pub, is a Pub! It does not need to spend a fortune on a makeover to serve good food, nor does it have to lose it's charm as a pub by turning itself completely into a restaurant either!

The proof of this statement, is in the fact that 34 Pubs from all over Ireland (the Republic and Northern Ireland) that serve food, are included in the new Michelin Eating Out in Pubs Guide for 2014 published today.

Of the 27 pubs listed in the Republic, five are new entries: Byrne & Woods, Roundwood, Co Wicklow; The Tavern, Murrisk, Co Mayo; Fallon’s , Kilcullen, Co Kildare; Linnane’s Lobster Bar, New Quay, Co Clare; and Morrissey’s, Doonbeg, Co Clare. 

Of the 7 pubs listed in Northern Ireland,  Lisbarnett House in Comber is a new entry.

Rebecca Burr, Editor of the Michelin Eating Out in Pubs Guide for 2014, said that "all the pubs and bars had been rigorously inspected by a team of full-time inspectors. These are the same team of inspectors who produce the Michelin Restaurant Guide." 

“Chefs looking to open their own place without having to spend huge amounts of money are also finding pubs to be the perfect choice. And with such skills in the kitchen, these pubs in turn are becoming great training schools for the next generation of chefs", she said. 

"Hopefully we can now all stop using the term "Gastropub" added Ms Burr. "Many of the establishments in this guide are tradtional pubs playing their part in the community. A pub doesn't need a modern makeover to serve good food, nor does it have to transform itself into a restaurant".

Here is the Full List of Pubs in Ireland in the Michelin Eating Out in Pubs Guide for 2014, with Links.

Co Down

Grace Neill’s (Donaghadee)

Pier 36 (Donaghadee)

The Parson’s Nose (Hillsborough)

The Plough Inn (Hillsborough)

An Súgan (Clonakilty)

Deasy’ Harbour Bar (Clonakilty)

Cronin’s (Crosshaven) 

Co Clare

Morrissey’s (Doonbeg)

Wild Honey Inn (Lisdoonvarna)

Co Mayo

The Tavern (Murrisk)

Cronin's Sheebeen (Westport)

Co Galway

O’Dowd’s Seafood Bar (Roundstone) 

Co Kerry

Co Kildare

Ballymore Inn (Ballymore Eustace)

Fallon’s Bar & Cafe (Kilcullen)

Co Dublin

The Chop House (Ballsbridge)

Co Leitrim

The Oarsman Bar & Restaurant (Carrick-on-Shannon)

Co Louth

Co Sligo

Hargadons Bar & Restaurant (O’Connell Street, Sligo)

Co Tipperary

Co Westmeath

The Fatted Calf (Glasson)

Co Wexford

Co Wicklow

Congrats to everyone involved!

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