History and tradition in a bottle

Posted on: 3rd November, 2014

Category: The Wine Buff

Contributor: Tony Eklof

Tony Eklof, originally from New England, has settled in Clonakilty after a career as a librarian at University College Dublin. His knowledge and passion for wine has been inspired by frequent visits to the wine growing regions of the continent, particularly Italy and France. westcorkwinebuff@gmail.com

Some appreciation of the long history and tradition associated with wine and wine making might help to enhance the enjoyment of your evening glass of wine. There is archaeological evidence of wine making in Georgia in the Caucasus and in ancient Persia as far back as 5000 BC. Evidence of a winery, complete with wine press, vats and jars has been uncovered in Armenia, dating from 4,100 BC. Myths and stories involving wine abound in the Bible, in Greek mythology, and in Persian legends. Wine culture thrived in Greece and there was even a God of wine, Dionysus, later known in Rome as Bacchus. Did you know that the modern names Dion, Dionne, and the Russian Deniska are all derived from Dionysus as is the popular Cork name Dennis!

The ancient Phoenecians with their impressive trade routes played a major role in spreading wine technology throughout the entire Mediterranean area.

It was during the Roman Empire that the great wine producing areas of Italy and the former Roman provinces were established.

Wine became a common part of the Roman diet, (for men, but not for women!)

During the Middle Ages a split between north and south developed whereby in the south wine drinking became widespread as the cultivation of grapes increased, while in the north the drink of the common man was more likely to be beer or ale. It was during this time that many religious orders, such as the Benedictines, the Carthusians and the Templars became important producers of wine.

Not surprisingly the old world wine producing countries pay more heed to tradition than their new world counterparts. I was fortunate enough to find myself in Saint Emilion one Autumn and witnessed the impressive official opening of the harvest by colourfully robed ‘Jurats’ who gather at the top of a castle each year for the ‘Harvest Proclamation’, a tradition dating back to 1199.

So after considering all this, a Bordeaux wine dating back to the glorious vintage of 1995 doesn’t seem so old after all. However, I wouldn’t recommend anything from the 4,100 BC vintage — it is bound to have gone off.


Recommendations: Villa Sparina Gavi di Gavi, 2012 — Delicious dry Italian white in an attractive, distinctive bottle. €12 on special in SuperValu, Clonakilty. Mayne de Beauregard, Bergerac, 2013. — Young, very drinkable red Bordeaux type wine from one of my personal favourite regions. On offer in Marks and Spencer, Cork, around €10.

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Bandon Walled Town Festival in looking for new ideas!
Would you like to get involved in the 2018 Festival?If you yourself would like to be involved in big or small way
email bandonwalledtown@gmail.com
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11th October, 2017  ·  

Submarines, American Sailors, and the Underwater War in Irish Waters, 1917-1918
by Dr John Borgonovo in The Parish Centre, Clonakilty
on Thursday Oct 26 2017 at 8.30 pm

In 1917, unrestricted submarine warfare by German U-boats brought the United States into WWI and created a crisis in Britain. To defeat the submarine menace, an American naval fleet was dispatched to County Cork, bringing about 10,000 sailors with it. This talk will explain the circumstances of this extraordinary event, and how Cork residents dealt with their unexpected American guests.

Dr John Borgonovo is a lecturer in the School of History at UCC. His publications include Spies, Informers, and the 'Anti-Sinn Féin' Society: The Intelligence War in Cork City, 1920-1921; The Dynamics of War and Revolution: Cork City, 1916-1918; Exercising a close vigilance over their daughters: Cork women, American sailors, and Catholic vigilantes, 1917-18; Something in the Nature of a Massacre: The Bandon Valley Killings Revisited (with Andy Bielenberg). His latest publication (with co-authors John Crowley, Donal Ó Drisceoil and Mike Murphy) is the highly acclaimed and magnificient Atlas of the Irish Revolution. In July of this year, he organised a very successful conference on Winning the Western Approaches - Unrestricted Submarine Warfare and the US Navy in Ireland 1917-1918.
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11th October, 2017  ·  

Apple Juicing Day in Clonakilty next Sunday Sept 30th. All welcome to bring their apples from 2-6pm to the Clonakilty Community Garden (on entrance road to Clonakilty Lodge).

Building on the success of its inaugural 2016 event, local voluntary environmental organisation Sustainable Clonakilty invites people to bring along their apples and press them to extract their own juice to take home, using the group's Apple Press.

Volunteers will be at hand to assist in the procedure. Bring along your apples washed; clean containers to freeze your juice (milk/juice bottles or cartons, plastic bottles with caps); clean, sterilised glass bottles to pasteurise with swing caps or suitable for 26 mm diameter metal cap.

A limited number of new 3 litres juice bags that are suitable for freezing and pasteurising, can be purchased for a nominal fee on the day also.

This is a free community event and donations will be welcome to cover costs.

For further information, please contact Xavier at xavierdubuisson@gmail.com or text at 086/0476124.
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26th September, 2017  ·  

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