Lusca Irish Wine
Since working with a winemaker in Germany in the 1980’s, where I became fascinated with the beauty of grapevines and the ancient noble art of winemaking, I have been growing vines and making wine as a hobby. From my earlier days of experimenting with different vine varieties in the Irish climate, and trying to create palatable wine from their fruits, I began propagating vines for sale to gardeners, and I eventually decided to plant a small vineyard for the purpose of growing grapes to produce Irish wine for sale.
In 2002 we planted our vineyard, using quite a few different varieties of both wine and table/dessert grapes. We have whittled the dessert grapes down to a couple of varieties which grow well for us and produce the most delicious grapes. We have also whittled down the wine varieties to a few which work well for us and produce consistently good wine.
We call our wine Lusca, Gaelic for Lusk, meaning 'vault' or 'cave'. Our label bears an image of the historic Round Tower of Lusk, which our vineyard looks out upon, one mile to the east.
Our wine grapes consist mainly of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Dunkelfelder, and Rondo for our reds, and Sauvignon Blanc, Schoenburger and Gewuerztraminer for the whites. At present we have a very tiny total production of around 350 bottles per year, and we hope to increase that to around 1000 bottles over the next few years.
Growing the wine
All our vines are planted outdoors next to our orchard just outside the village of Lusk. The later ripening varieties benefit from a simple cloche-type structure of metal hoops which we have rigged up over the rows, whereby we are able to drape a protective polythene cover over the vines during the summer months. This protects the fruit and foliage from rain, thus avoiding diseases, and we therefore don't need to spray any pesticides on the vines. It also raises the temperature under the covers which helps the late-ripening fruit to mature in our relatively cool summers.
We also have a large polytunnel, which is high enough to allow us to allow us to train vines high up , 3 metres from the ground. These vines are a 'second storey' crop above a plantation of cherry trees, and, basking in the full sun near the roof of the polytunnel, they grow very well and produce grapes of excellent quality.
On the other hand the Rondo grape is hardy enough to ripen in the open in our climate, and is also very disease resistant, which means we don’t need to spray them with pesticides. We have experimented with a small number of Rondo vines for many years, and we hope in 2014 to have our first harvest of Rondo wine rom a plot planted in 2012.
Making the Wine
The entire wine-making process is carried out in Lusk at the vineyard, from picking to pressing, fermenting, maturing and bottling. The wine is made exclusively from our own grapes grown here, and we do not buy in any grapes. We use a very simple traditional method for the vinification, without the use of high-tech filters and other equipment. The wine is allowed to clear naturally, and it is all bottled and labelled by hand.
All our wine is fermented to natural dryness and is finished dry in the bottle, without being back-sweetened at bottling as is common practice in modern large scale wineries. We bottle into elegant standard sized 750ml bottles, and also into matching 375ml half-bottles.
How to get it
The only place which stocks our complete selection of varieties in both bottle sizes is us! We can sell you the wine if you visit us in Lusk, or we can post the wine anywhere within the EU if you contact us. The outlets listed below might not have the bottle size or the variety which you are looking for.
If you would like to reserve wine which is not yet bottled, you can contact us and we can discuss it with you. Since some of the wines are at present made in very tiny annual amounts like 25 or 50 bottles, this could be a useful way to secure some for yourself before it is sold out.
If you need the wine sent further afield, to the US for example, then please contact www.winesonthegreen.com - they can send it anywhere in the world.
Irish wine made entirely from grapes grown on our vineyard in Lusk. Ireland's only available wine, made from Cab Sauv/ Merlot/ Rondo/ Dunkelfelder/ Sauv Blanc/ Schonburger
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