It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, but I hadn’t realised quite how long. Delighted to be using this first post in a long time to announce our new partnership with Tindal Wine Merchants.

Tyrrell & Co. (Wine Importers) Ltd – Press release – Monday 15th February 2015

Tyrrell & Co. (Wine Importers) Ltd are delighted to announce that from 1st March 2016 they will be working in partnership with Tindal Wine Merchants to increase and expand the distribution of their wines throughout Ireland.

Both Tyrrell & Co. and Tindal Wine Merchants are family owned and run businesses and were both set up in 2004. Since then Tindal have gone on to represent many of the top wineries from around the world while Tyrrell & Co.’s strength lies in its Rhône portfolio. The ethos of the two companies is very similar and Simon Tyrrell and Anthony Tindal both strongly feel this new working agreement will be mutually beneficial, not only to both companies, but to their customers as well.

In recent years Simon Tyrrell undertook a two year wine production diploma at Plumpton College, University of Brighton, studying viticulture and oenology and emerging in 2011 with a distinction. This led to Les Deux Cols, his first hands on winemaking venture from grape to bottle. The first vintage in 2012 produced 10,000 bottles and continues to grow today.

Anthony Tindal has been developing a range of wines marketed under Tindal’s own labels and is actively involved in the selection and blending of these wines, which are aimed to be truly representative of the vineyards and terroirs from whence they came. Together with Simon he is very excited at the thought of working on, and expanding this range.

“I have always had huge admiration for Simon” says Anthony Tindal “his knowledge of the Rhône is unparalleled in Ireland and we very much look forward to working with him.”

Simon is equally enthusiastic “I have enormous respect for both Anthony and his business ethos. The partnership and support of Tindal Wine Merchants provides me with the means to both expand our joint wine-making activities while maintaining Tyrrell & Co.’s position as Ireland’s Rhône specialist.”

 

Ends

tyrrellandcompany.com

Dear Collector General,

Our Wine Importer’s Licence is due for renewal at the end of this month. Thank you for sending on the reminder for this as well as the reminder to ensure we have a current Tax Clearance Cert before sending on renewal form.

It’s kind of odd that we have to have a Tax Clearance Cert – I totally understand why we would need one, but the oddness is due to the fact that some of our customers who have closed their doors recently were obviously selling wines supplied by us, even though they could not have had a valid Tax Clearance Cert. The reason I would know this is because in many cases it was Revenue who ended up forcing their hand re closing/going in to receivership. So you knew they were in arrears on their taxes but you still allowed them to trade. And you kept that to yourself.

In one example I understand that Revenue had effectively taken control of the credit card machine in the establishment. The funds from all credit card payments went to a holding account controlled by Revenue. So Revenue were benefiting from sales of wine supplied by us. And using insider knowledge of the tax affairs and ensuring you got in first to secure your own payment. When the establishment closed we were left with a bad debt. On top of that we still had to pay Revenue the duty on the wine, even though we were not paid for the wine itself. Double whammy.

We feel like unpaid tax collectors. We are not feeling the love.

Signed

One sad little wine importer

xx

Craigies twitter image

I love that Irish food is a thing now and I think restaurants with a wine licence in Ireland should also be able to serve an Irish alternative to imported wine; that they should be able to offer apple wine as well as grape wine. The way the current licencing system works it means if a restaurant wishes to offer a lower alcohol, and 100% Irish alternative, to wine then they have to obtain another licence, and at a further cost.

Apart from those of us living here who would like a lower alcohol alternative to wine when eating out, I really don’t think that tourists who visit Ireland are always looking to drink a grape wine with their meals – one that may well be imported from the country they have just come over from. Surely there is an argument to be made for supporting a product that is made from 100% Irish grown apples, a product that supports Irish jobs and showcases what we in this country can can make? As far as I see it, the current licencing system penalises a domestically produced product in favour of a generally more expensive, imported one, and that doesn’t seem right.

I have said in the past that cider is a true Irish wine. It is, when made properly, a vintage product, made from fermented fruit, just like wine. (Yes, there are versions out there that include the additions of water and juice concentrate and added sugar and flavourings and colourants, etc. In my mind these should be challenged under the Trade Descriptions Act as they are not what I would consider to be cider, but that’s another argument, for another day.) However cider seems to fall between two stools when it comes to licences and duty.

Brewers (i.e. beer producers) are entitled to a tax rebate, this is European-wide and applies to microbreweries producing up to 20,000 hectolitres, you can read more about this on the Revenue’s website here http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/excise/leaflets/pn1888.html

Cider-makers are not entitled to this. That’s ok, cider and beer are different products and as I have already said, cider is really a type of wine, and cider is fermented, not brewed, so if applied to cider-making then I suppose this could also be applied to wine making. As we know there are many, many small wine-making set ups in Europe.

If you look at the excise duty rates applied to beer, wine and cider you see that there too cider is treated like wine, the rate is charged per hectolitre, not as for beer “per hectolitre per cent of alcohol in the beer”. And again, that’s ok, I accept cider is a wine not a beer. (More on the Revenue’s own site here http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/excise/duties/excise-duty-rates.html)

excise rates 25 03 2014

(As an aside I think it’s interesting that a difference is made whether the wine and cider is fizzy or not. A sparkling cider over 8.5% volume attracts more duty than a still wine over 15%. I wonder why? Do the bubbles mean it’s a luxury product? When I hear the argument that duty is increased to combat alcohol abuse, I wonder how it can make any difference whatsoever whether the liquid is fizzy or not.)

Wine Retailers Licence 25 03 2014For licencing though, it’s unclear as to whether cider is a wine, or “beer etc” but as I’ve pointed out, it is really a wine.

Restaurant wine licences are due for renewal in September, so how about changing the system before the summer, to allow restaurants to offer their customers, both from here and abroad, a product that is 100% Irish, alongside their imported wine list, and see what the feedback is? Then maybe look at making it a permanent change come September.

#LicenceToChange

SBP Awards 4Jan2014 - 2This year has started really well for us. We were absolutely chuffed to bits on reading the Sunday Business Post of 4 January 2014. Tomás Clancy, in his annual gold star awards, has given us the title of Wine Importer of the Year again. In the article, entitled “Wine: Another Vintage Year” Tomás lists his winners and we are proud to be included in the line up.

That said we realise we can’t rest on our laurels. 2013 was a pretty tough year for those in the wine trade in Ireland. Coupled with the economic downturn we have been hit with a duty increase that makes the eyes water. More on that in a previous post here. For those of us selling wine 2014 brings with it the pressure to find wine cheap enough at source to not be prohibitive on the shelf in Ireland while at the same time being of acceptable quality, no mean feat.

Our biggest bill by far is the one from the Revenue for the duty – and we pay vat on this too – the creditor who gives us the worst terms is also the Revenue. We are billed the duty end of month following, well not quite end of month, the duty for January is taken from our account by direct debit on the second or third last working day of the month. Except for the November duty which is taken about 10 days before the end of December, to allow for Revenue holidays, this at the period of year we are most stretched. A challenge.

IMG_1879Still, we are delighted with this good news start to 2014 and look forward to what else the year may bring. We’ll have some news on the next cider vintage soon too. It’s being bottled very shortly and we’re excited about that too.

 

It’s nearly here. We’ve been plotting and planning and are delighted to be bringing the first ever Rhône Wine Week to Ireland. There are events taking place all over the country so be sure not to miss out. Meet the wine-makers, taste the wines, the Rhône Rangers are coming. There are also some amazing giveaways planned for the week, from restaurant gift vouchers to bottles of wine and more, have a look here for more on those, and be sure to follow Rhône Wine Week on twitter or facebook to find out just when these giveaways will be taking place.

Some more on some of the events planned (booking essential):

Tuesday 26th November – Dublin 

Donnybrook Fair x 10John Wilson, Irish Times Wine Journalist and Mary Dowey, Wine Editor at the Gloss magazine will lead us through a journey of the Rhône with the wine makers themselves. Sang des Cailloux, Pesquié… A Question and Answer Session with a glass or two at  Donnybrook Fair, Donnybrook. Come along and meet the producers.  Tickets for the event are €15, wines included, and booking is essential, you can book via their website here or email Julie: julied@donnybrookfair.ie

Wednesday 27th November – Galway

Donnelly's of BarnaRhône Wine Dinner at Donnelly’s of Barna, a food and wine matching dinner, with the wine makers to present and talk you through the wines. With wines from Château Pesquié and Les Vignerons d’Estézargues. To book please call Donnelly’s on (091) 592 487.

Wednesday 27th November – Dublin

imageDinner at The Wild Goose Grill in Ranelagh, with the wines of Domaine de la Janasse, presented by Marie from the Domaine. From Côtes du Rhône to Châteauneuf du Pape. To book call The Wild Goose on 01 491 2377.

Wednesday 27th November – Limerick

photo Judith Boyle

One Pery Square High Res logo x 10(2)We are delighted that Susan Boyle has agreed to bring her one woman show A Wine Goose Chase to Rhône Wine Week. The Limerick showing takes place on Wednesday evening at One Pery Square in the heart of Georgian Limerick. A stone’s throw from Limerick station One Pery Square is the perfect place for a city break. To book your ticket, €20, to see A Wine Goose Chase, including 3 tasting glasses, please call One Pery Square on (061) 402402 and to read some previous reviews of the show click here.

Wednesday 27th November – Dalkey 

devilles_logoRhône Dinner at DeVille’s of Dalkey, centred around the wines of Vacqueyras. From Domaine le Sang des Cailloux, with the wine maker Serge Férigoule himself there to present the wines. €55 a head, wines included. To book call DeVilles on  01 284 9071.

Wednesday 27th November – Waterford

La Boheme x 10Rhône Wine Dinner at La Bohème in the heart of Waterford city. French chef Eric Théze will create a meal to compliment the wines of Domaine de la Citadelle and the wines will be introduced by the Cyril Delvalat from the domaine. €55 a head, wines included. To book please call La Bohème on (051) 875 645.

Thursday 28th November – Dublin

Ely x 35Rhône Wine Tasting at ely bar and brasserie Meet the wine makers, taste the wines. Domaine de la Citadelle, Château Pesquié, Domaine le Sang des Cailloux, Les Vignerons d’Estérzargues, Domaine la Bouïssière, Les Deux Cols, Domaine Yann Chave. Tickets for sale at €15.00 via ely. For more information call Ian on (01) 678 7867 or email: ian@elywinebar.com or book online here Tasting begins at 6pm.

Saturday 30th November – Cork

BallymaloeVisit the Ballymaloe Pop Up Wine Shop at Brown Thomas in Cork. There’ll be Rhône wines on tasting throughout the day. Drop in and taste.

There is a rumour that there will be another increase to the duty on wine in the coming budget. The rumour says about 50 cent a bottle. This rumour also has it that beer and spirits won’t be touched. Rumours sometimes have a habit of becoming self-fulfilling prophecies so I am perhaps softening the way already for an increase. The more we talk about it the more we accept it maybe. The recent backlash against Diageo’s Arthur’s Day is playing into the hands of those who wish to increase the duty. Alcohol is bad. All alcohol is bad. Bad alcohol. Bad. And yet another rumour that was flying around this industry last year was of the Big Brewery Boys who were overheard post budget by A Much Smaller Wine Importer celebrating the fact that their lobbying had successfully increased duty on wine by €1 a bottle, but beer by only 10 cent a pint. As far as I remember the rumour had the Big Brewery Boys drinking in the Sky Bar at the Guinness Storehouse having no idea that A Much Smaller Wine Importer happened to be showing a visiting producer around Dublin. Small town.

When Michael Noonan announced the increase in the last budget there was initially a bit of confusion. He said €1 a bottle but did not specify if this included vat of not. It did, and it usually does. Duty on wine not exceeding 15% alcohol by volume (ABV) is currently €2.78 a bottle, ex vat. Once you go over 15% ABV the rate increases.

The general perception is that the duty increase is applied to the price of a bottle of wine. It does not. It’s applied to the cost. We extend credit on that cost and so we apply margin. The retailer or restaurateur then applies their margin. So when is €1 not €1? When it comes to duty. The only way to ensure that the duty increase is all that is added to the price of a bottle of wine is to do so at the point of sale, but how to do that? I am not sure it is logistically possible and so for wine importers our role as tax collector becomes even more onerous. I mentioned that here previously.

So a 50 cent increase, let’s assume again this would include vat and make it 41 cent before vat, this increase would then bring the current duty on a bottle of wine to from €2.78 to €3.19 ex vat. The importer will apply their margin to this €3.19, the retailer or restaurateur will apply theirs.

Add vat and €3.19 becomes €3.92. Nearly €4.00 on every bottle of wine you drink would be going to the Exchequer – regardless of the price of the bottle – I mean if you buy a bottle in a supermarket for €4.00 then it’s below cost selling as the Revenue will take the entire €4.00 you hand over. Pay €8.00 for a bottle and you’re drinking the first half for the Exchequer.

A very good read by Liam Cabot of Cabot & Co which includes the following very interesting quote

“The EU Commission challenged Ireland some years ago about what it considered an unacceptably favourable treatment of beer (a largely domestic product) as opposed to wine (a largely imported product).” 

can be found here  http://cabotandco.blogspot.ie/2013/09/exercise-your-frustration-on-excise.html

We’re back! Let the taste-testing begin again. After a brief summer break and for the coming autumnal months, our taste-testers will be sent nothing but the Rhône. InterRhone Think RedYou’ll be our very own Rhône Rangers. In order to help you all get into the mood for Rhône Wine Week, 25th to 30th November, we are going to be sending out bottles from the Rhône. You might get a Côte du Rhône, you might get a Côtes du Rhône Villages, would we put a Châteauneuf du Pape, or a Crozes-Hermitage in there? Would we?

IR_01194

(C) Inter-Rhône

Have a look at our Taste-Testers’ page on thewinestore.ie and you’ll see the kind of thing we’re after. Remember, no experience necessary, just a willingness to taste and report back.

Interested? Well send us an email or let us know via twitter (this time to @RhoneWineWeek please) or post on the Rhône Wine Week  Facebook page and we’ll get back to you.

(C) Inter-Rhône

(C) Inter-Rhône

Autumn is here, our favourite season, and to celebrate we’re plotting and planning a Rhône Wine Week. A celebration of the wines of the Rhône Valley. It’s in the early stages at the moment, but is going to be a country-wide event. You can find out more on the dedicated website RhoneWineWeekIreland.com

There will be tastings, competitions, dinners, with chances to meet the wine-makers and hear from them first hand, and if you follow the twitter account @RhoneWineWeek or like the facebook page you’ll be kept up to date with the latest events as and when they are added to the calendar.

So light the fire, embrace the season, think red, think Côtes du Rhône.

InterRhone Think Red

photo: Inter-Rhône

photo: Inter-Rhône

There’s been a bit of talk again recently on Natural Wine which has prompted a return to this theme. Natural Wine isn’t really anything, it’s a bit like ‘artisan’ in that there is no clear cut definition. It claims to be, well, natural, in that there are no additives such as sulphur dioxide. Sulphur dioxide and sulphites in general have had a lot of bad press, yes if you’re asthmatic they can trigger an allergic reaction if present in high concentrations and this is why any wine with added  SO2 must state so on the label (interestingly though you never seem to see it quite so obviously labelled on dried fruits etc), much the same way ‘contains nuts’ is mentioned. Also a certain, albeit small, amount of SOis a by-product of the fermentation process so in fact all wines will have sulphur dioxide in them, just not ‘added’ sulphur dioxide or sulphites (there are yeasts being developed at the moment that may eliminate this but they are not out there yet). One of the many reasons sulphites are added during wine-making is to elminate the natural production of what are know as biogenic amines such as:

histamine (you’re no doubt familiar with this one)

tyramine (linked to migraines)

putrescine

cadavarine

(those last 2 are my favourites, and as they sound, both are foul-smelling,  produced when flesh rots and are toxic in large doses) and the side effects of the first two, nausea and headache, are far more likely to make you feel rough the next day than any sulphites. That said, how you feel is also hugely reliant on the quantity you drank, so that might be a good place to start if you’d like to wake up feeling good.

A wine-maker I know, who produces a ‘Natural’ wine in his range, recently had this rejected by a UK importer as being ‘too clean’ – it seems that ‘Natural’ wine needs to come in with earth on the bottle and a barnyard smell on the nose, and I’d question a lot of the wine snobbery associated with the movement. A wine that is produced using organic, biodynamic or ‘Natural’ methods may be an indication of the wine-maker of food-producer’s respect of his or her land and their attitude to nature, but it does not automatically make it good.

Previously blogged here (and in in more detail): Natural or not? Labels which includes a late addition of the following quote from Tyler Colman, also known as Dr Vino:

So if you’ve ever wondered why dried fruits that have higher levels of sulfur than wine contain no government warning, now you know why. First, they’re regulated by different agencies (TTB vs FDA). Second, there’s no anti-dried fruit lobby.

We’ve started a scheme we’re calling Taste-Testing and the way it works is every month we send out a bottle each to four different Taste-Testers who then report back their findings.  We are not looking for wine experts, we are not looking for wine writers, all we want are people who like wine and want to know more.

bottles from top banner 2

We provide you with a step by step tasting guide as well as the flowery vocab you can use to describe the liquid in the glass. How closely you follow the guide or how much of the vocab you use is entirely up to you.

You can read all the results so far, in full, here, on the Taste-tester page of the website, but below are some of the descriptions we particularly like, and a big thank you to the hard-working Taste-Testers so far:

“I wanted stew wine, steak wine, kick me in the gut wine… ” @claredaisy – Please note ‘kick-me-in-the-gut’ is a technical wine term.

“a perfect accompaniment to a cheeky, lazy, lunch”  @linglang – We want a cheeky lazy lunch.

“didn’t feel as strong as it was” @ElaineEdwards – this is pretty important, do not take at face value the abv on the label, there is half a percent leeway on the %abv on a bottle and often producers are economical with the truth in order to get their wine into an excise bracket.

“I would remember this wine if I tasted it again” @curtainqueen – Gold star.

“This is a Zeppelin of a drink” @johnmoynes – Simon’s favourite comment so far.

“though the tasting panel also thought redcurrant was present” @despod – Top marks for sharing.

“Having been asked to review this wine, the pressure started mounting, so much so, that I put off tasting it for 3 weeks! This was my one and only mistake with this wine.” @markkipper – No pressure, honestly, no pressure!

Then we had a few images tweeted to us, one taster has his glass ready:

glass washed, via @wasteofgoodskin

glass washed, via @wasteofgoodskin

Another thought the wine was a little sharp on the nose….

sharp on the nose, via @winebanter

sharp on the nose, via @winebanter

The Taste-Tester above, @winebanter, who thought his wine a little sharp has sent in this video review, which we love, click on the link below to watch:

http://twitter.yfrog.com/ndrgesfosvouxuwwkneqoukgz

(To find out more about becoming a Taste-Tester have a look at here, or visit us www.thewinestore.ie and click on the Taste-Testers tab.)