Wine duty increase

At midnight 15th of October 2013, 50c was added to the tax on a bottle of wine, less than a year after a previous increase of €1 was added to the costs. The 2012 increase represents a 41% increase in duty (according to the Irish Wine Association), and this years 50c adds a further 20% increase over the 2011 rates (or thereabouts!). So, in the space of 2 years, tax rates have gone up by almost 2/3, a massive increase…

This graph from Gavin Quinney was before the latest increase here in Ireland, and shows just how high our Duty rates are when compared with the rest of Europe, and thats before any VAT is added on at a further 23% on top of all the other costs…

Now, many people will ask, sure what is all the fuss about, wine is a luxury item?  That kinda misses the point – WINES ARE A PRODUCT SOLD BY BUSINESSES – 99% of wine businesses (importers/wholesalers/retailers/restaurants/wine bars) started business without any state support whatsover to get up and running, mostly family businesses and SMEs – the so called backbone of the economy that the various Government spokespeople say are critical to Ireland getting out of the economic mess we are in.

So, you would think that any changes to the fundamentals of how those businesses operate would be done with kid gloves, wouldnt you?? Not so – far closer to the iron fist!! When you consider that the Excise Duty now equals the average cellar door cost of the bottle of wine (i.e. the price to the importer before transport etc), you get some idea of the scale of the problem.  Put it another way, a bottle of wine selling at €15, around €6 of that is either excise or VAT…

Dont get me wrong, we love the wine business – we love that it is one of the oldest traded commodities in the world, that a piece of Mediterranean sunshine can be captured in a bottle, with lots of proven health benefits (as long as its in moderation!). That we get to meet great people with a passion for what they are doing – all the way along the line from producer to consumer.  But, if we and others like us cant survive in todays business and tax environment then Irish society will be worse off and there simply wont be an independent wine sector in this country. And the big supermarkets will have killed off another slice of the retail trade…

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Cava – 3 reasons to be cheerful!

‘CAVA: Traditionally made Spanish sparkling wines (using methods similar to Champagne). The Cavas imported by Honest2Goodness are from a company called Dominio de la Vega in the region of Utiel-Requena, close to Valencia.’

The word ‘Cava’ is peppering a few of our conversations at Honest2Goodness at the moment. Three reasons – one, Dominio de la Vega have two of their Cavas in the recently published ’50 Great Sparkling Wines in the World’ their Brut Reserva Especial (joint third at 95 points) and their Brut Pinot Noir (scoring 88 points). Their Cavas have been awarded top Cava in Spain on more than once occasion, but its great to see them feature so highly on an international comparison.

Cartel Alphons Mucha_Baja Res

The second reason is that Cava Bodega has opened its doors in Galway, to take up where the original Cava Tapas Restaurant left off at the beginning of 2013.  So, JP & Drigin have found a new home for their wonderful Spanish cooking, using lots of local Irish produce, matching with wines, sherries, beers and ciders – cant wait to try it soon.

Cava Kitchen Range

Photos from the new Cava Bodega website at

We are delighted that Jp & Drigin have chosen some of our wines as part of their eclectic and interesting wine list, including our Cava Brut Rosado from Dominio de la Vega… and this oaked sauvignon, also from Dominio de la Vega

The third reason that ‘CAVA’ is in our conversations at the moment is that Natalia from Dominio de la Vega will be in Dublin later this month, and as part of her visit, Paul at BlackPig Wines in Donnybrook is hosting an evening of Cava and still wine tasting with some of his wonderful jamon:

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At its best, Cava can rival Champagne for taste and quality and offers excellent value for money. At Dominio de la Vega, they use 100% Macabeo grape for their Cava Brut, 100% Garnacha for their Cava Brut Rosado and a blend of Macabeo and Chardonnay for their Cava Brut Especial Reserva. They also produce a range of still wines which include local grape variety Bobal.

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Choosing Barbeque Wines – 9 great Tips & some recommendations

bbq empty wine bottles

At the end of the day…

Yes, it is raining as this is being written (15th August), but there is a prediction that the weather will improve again for the rest of the month, so be prepared!

  • Ask your local wine merchant for advice. Most local independent wine shops stock a great range of wines and have a deep knowledge of matching wines and food. If you have large numbers of guests they can also supply wines on Sale or Return. Many can also supply extra glasses and ice if needed.

  • Choose a red wine that will match both white and red meats. Many BBQ’s have a vast range of meats starting with pork sausages, moving onto chicken and lamb or beef. If you choose something like a Cotes du Rhone, a Rioja, a red from Southern Italy (like Primitivo, Montepulciano, Negromaro or Nero d’Avola) or Malbec from Argentina you will be in the right territory. These types of wines have rounder tannins are have plenty of Juicy fruit which matched well with smoky marinades and match better with white meats.

  • Alcohol content – choose lower alcohol levels for long time drinking. Red wines from Beaujolais and reds from Veneto made with Corvina (Valpolicella or Bardolino’s being 2 examples) tend to be at or below 13% abv. For whites Sauvignons from the Loire or Sauvignon blends from South West France weigh in at 12.5% or below. If you want to splash out on more expensive whites there are some great Rieslings from Germany coming in at 12% abv or below.

  • Blend of white and red wines – if its 30C like we’ve had in the recent heat wave anyone who switched between red and white is far more likely to drink much more white than usual so be ready for this.

  • Match the weight of the food with the wine and escalate upwards. Serve lighter foods like grilled prawns first (matched with the lightest whites) and move up from there to chicken pork, lamb etc. Serve the fullest bodied red with the richest red meats.

  • Aromatic whites work fantastically with fish or white meats marinated with herbs and citrus. Albarino or Falanghina would be a great match with Monkfish or Chicken marinated in lemon, coriander and garlic

  • Just because the food comes from a barbeque it doesn’t mean we can’t match more expensive wines for something special. A barbeque is the perfect place to cook Dry Aged Rib eye that costs more than €25/kg., so don’t stint on the quality of the wine.

  • Chill reds! With the recent heat we have had 30-45 minutes in the fridge for the types of wine mentioned in Tip 2 will really bring out the fruit character of the wines. Chill whites in plenty of time and also have ice on stand by if your fridge is full of food.

  • Keep a nice bottle for yourselves for after the guests have left for a nice treat!

Wines to go with Pork, White and Red Meats in Smoky Marinades

Domaine Galevan Organic Cote du Rhone, 2011 €16.95 Stockists Fallon and Byrne, Bottle Shop Sundrive Rd, Cheers Delgany, The Corkscrew D2, Donnybrook Fair D4, Lohans Salthill

iTratturi Negromaro, 2011 €14.95 Stockists Corkscrew D2, Bottle Shope Sundrive Rd, Red Island Wines Skerries, Baggot St Wines D4

Valori Montepulciano d’Abruzzo €15.95 Stockists Corkscrew D2, Fallon and Byrne D2, Red Island Wines Skerries, Sweeneys Glasnevin

Nespolino Rosso, Sangiovese/Merlot 2011 €10.95 Stockists Corkscrew D2, Bottle Shop Sundrive Rd, Red Island Wines Skerries, Baggot St Wines, D4

Low Alcohol Whites

Rive Haute Colombard/Sauvignon 2012 11.5% abv, €10.95 Stockists Corkscrew D2, Red Island Wines Skerries, Fresh Grand Canal Quay

Sybille Kuntz Reisling Kabinett, 2010 11.5% abv. €19.95-21.95 Stockists Corkscrew D2, Red Island Wines Skerries, Cheers Delgany, Parting Glass Enniskerry, Lohans Salthill, Fallon and Byrne D2, Baggot St Wines D4, Jus de Vine Portmarnock

Aromatic Whites to go with Monkfish or Chicken marinated in Lemon, garlic and coriander

Senorio di Rubios, Albarino 2012 €15.95-16.95 Stockists Fallon and Byrne D2, Black Pig Wines Donnybrook, Parting Glass Enniskerry, Jus de Vine Portmarnock

Triade Bianco (Greco, Falanghina, Fiano) 2012 €15.95 Stockists Baggot St Wines, Parting Glass Enniskerry, Red Island Wines Skerries, Cheers Delgany, Corkscrew D2

Splash Out Red to go with Dry Aged Rib-Eye

Valenciso Rioja Reserva, 2006 €35.00 Stockists Black Pig Donnybrook, Corkscrew D2, Red Island Wines Skerries

Chateau Crouseilles Madiran, 2009 RRP €27.50 Contact for details

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H2G Wines

At H2G we are mad about food and totally into wine, and put the two together and we are even more enthusiastic – if that were possible! We are a brother (Colm) and sister (Brid) team, officially called Honest2Goodness, and we started the company in 2009 (thats a whole other story!). We have carefully established a portfolio of wines which reflect our philosophy, which you can read about further on in this blogpost.ImageThrough our blog we want to share with you our story and our journey, among other things. Rarely can we keep our reflections onto straight paths, so please bear with us when we meander into another place or occasional cul-de-sac.

Our wine philsophy is pretty simple really:

We source quality-driven, good value and environmentally friendly wines from small to medium family-owned producers in Europe. We add value to our customers business through the quality of our wines and our people – thats it!

We find our wines in the many regions Italy, Spain, France and in one little corner of Germany. We like to source wines made from indigenous grapes, so

We also tweet quite a lot – @brid_h2g and @colm_h2g


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“Wine is…

“Wine is the most healthful and most hygienic of beverages.”
― Louis Pasteur

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