Valentine’s Ideas for The Wine Lover

Ah, Valentine’s Day is upon us once again.  The most romantic day of the year, when, hand-in-hand with our amour, we are dizzily herded in to restaurants for an exorbitantly priced set menu meal.  A night where we stare lustfully in to our lover’s eyes and swallow hard to keep down the last excruciating sip of ‘complementary’ Prosecco Frizzante; before swatting away the familiar tear that it’s beans-on-toast until pay day.  An evening to be rounded off by the persistent suggestion from the robustly unromantic restaurateur that ‘perhaps sir would like to vacate the table, once he has finished masticating that final bite of dessert’, to allow room for the next loving couple.  Ah, Valentine’s Day.

brindisi amoroso

Despite my cynicism I obviously have nothing against spending an evening with my loved one- just not necessarily that night.  So, here are a few romantic wine events to suit any budget that are sure to excite the wine-lover in your life.

Wine Producers’ Weekend at Knockranny House Hotel

If you are in the first flushes of romance (or just flush with cash!) and feel like spoiling your significant other, you could not do any better than treating them to a wonderful weekend of wining and dining at Knockranny House for their Wine Producers Weekend.


Wine Producers’ Weekend at Knockranny House Hotel

February 26th-27th, 2016

‘Knockranny House Hotel hosts one of their informative and enjoyable Wine Producers’ Weekends this February, featuring walk around tastings, wineclinics, masterclasses from specific producers and wonderful menus at a tasting dinner in La Fougère to accompany some of these producers’ finest wines, designed by Knockranny’s talented chef, Seamus Commons.

Running on Friday 26th and Saturday 27th February, the weekend begins with a wine clinic on the mechanics and skills of wine tasting, given by Knockranny’s award-winning sommelier, Nick Faujours, and Sinead Cabot of wine importers Cabot & Co. from 8-9 p.m.

At 3pm on Saturday, the main walk-around tasting event takes place in the O’ Raifteiri Suite at Knockranny House Hotel, with various award-winning European wine producers, each critically acclaimed by leading international journalists, all hosting their own tasting table. 

There will also be a general table showcasing a wide variety of interesting wines, all available for tasting, along with local cheese and chutney makers, and some of Knockranny’s own in-house produce – homemade breads, chutneys, smoked salmon – available to taste. All the wines and local produce are available to purchase too, and guests are provided with information booklets to keep tabs on the wines they have tried and enjoyed, which also includes a wine order form.

During the course of the afternoon the wine producers will each be giving masterclasses on their wines and their wine producing regions, with one set of classes running from 3.30 to 4.15 pm, and the second taking place from 4.30 to 5.15pm.

The Walkaround Tasting runs until 5.30pm, and the final event (and the most delicious!) is the Wine Producers’ Dinner in La Fougère, where Seamus Commons’ menu will have individual dishes matching the wines of each producer, with those wines available to purchase by the glass for the meal.

The Wine Producers’ Weekend runs at Knockranny on February 26th & 27th 2016, and is an opportunity to gain some invaluable tasting experience with the people who make some of the best wines in Europe, in an intimate setting and an insightful way.

Dinner, B&B and the wine tasting event costs €135 per person sharing, with two nights B&B with dinner on one evening for €199 per person sharing. For non-residents who would like to attend this informative event, the rate is €69 per person, including dinner, wine tasting & masterclasses.’

This is sure to be one of the best wine events on the calendar this year and you can book your place by getting in touch directly with Knockranny House.

Knockranny House Hotel,Westport, Co. Mayo, Ireland, F28X340

Tel 00353 (0)98 28600   Fax 00353 (0)98 28611



Wine and Dine

If a full weekend of wine and nosh seems a bit excessive, why not gift one of these fantastic one-off nights.

Ely Wine Club

Ely have two locations in Dublin city, both of which are amongst the best wine bars in the city.  Each week their wine manager, Ian Brosnan holds at least one fantastic themed wine and dinner event in one of the locations.  These sell out fast and many of the February events are unsurprisingly full.  However, there are still places for the Germany and Austria tastings.  These may not seem like the sexiest wine regions in the world, but you may be surprised when you try a seductively elegant German Pinot Noir, or a rich and vibrant Austrian Grüner Veltliner.

For a list of upcoming events or further information you can contact Ian Brosnan directly via or call (01) 678 7867, or check out their website:


Alternatively, if you live near Belfast, or fancy a trip North, you could gift your loved one a fabulous evening of wine and fine Champagnes from JN Wine, paired with dishes from Danni Barry’s Michelin-Starred kitchen at EIPIC restaurant.

‘February 26th will see JN Wine teaming up with Deane’s EIPIC restaurant to showcase some of the world’s rarest and most delightful wines and champagnes partnered with the spectacular food of Chef Danni Barry. The evening will also welcome Bernadette Thienpont from Bordeaux and a representative from Billecart Salmon.

Guests will experience an exclusive tasting menu, which will be prepared by award-winning Chef Danni Barry and paired with a selection of Billecart Salmon Champagnes and wines from Vignobles Thienpont to compliment and lift the flavours of each dish, in partnership with JN Wine.’

The spectacular food and wines showcased on this very special evening are sure to impress the most ardent wine lover. This Fine Wine and Champagne Dinner, which begins at 7.30pm on Friday, 26th February costs £95 per person.’

For bookings contact EIPIC at Deanes, on 028 9033 1134 or for more information or to view the menu and wines for the evening, visit


Wine… Without the Dine

If you would like to gift your loved one a wine present, but dispense with the whole eating nonsense, there are a couple of fantastic wine tastings over the next couple of weeks that will help expand your wine knowledge in a relaxed atmosphere.

Mitchell & Son Palazzo Maffei Tasting

palazzo_maffeiFirst up is a tasting with Elisa Bolognani  of the Veneto region of Italy.

For four generations, the Cottini family have been producing wines of the highest quality and excellence in northern Italy.  The company’s history started over a hundred years ago in a land of great traditions. Today the family’s commitment to excellence continues and is demonstrated in the quality of their award-winning wines.

7pm, Wednesday 17th February

Mitchell & Son Glasthule

Tickets €10 available here

Tindal Wine Merchants Portfolio Tasting



If you have ever been to their Searsons retail shop in Monkstown village, you will know how good the Tindal wine offering is.  On the 23rd February you have the chance to get to know more about what they have to offer with their Portfolio Tasting at The Marker hotel in Dublin’s Grand Canal Square.

6pm, Tuesday 23rd February

The Marker Hotel

Tickets €15 available here

Happy Drinking.


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