November Newsletter

Spooky season is behind us and it’s officially winter. The upcoming months have plenty of events to keep you busy, and we’ve rounded up just a few of them below.

In late October we attended a mini-masterclass with the School of Port. They offer free online resources for anyone who wants to learn more about Portugal’s dynamic drink. Through online videos, you’ll learn about the Douro at your own pace. Once you’ve completed “The Essentials” you can move on to “The Masters” course and delve deeper into the subject. 

For any of our new members or anyone who may have forgotten, the California Wine Institute has kindly offered free access to their learning platform for Wine Spirit Women members. You have access to Capstone California level 1 and level 2, worth €500. It’s a great way to further your wine knowledge and delve deeper into the region of California.

Please email us at to get your personal access code.

If you have an upcoming event, job opening or news you’d like to share for next month’s newsletter don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Latest News

We were delighted to see Wine Spirit Women member Elli Hynes open Nest Wine and Coffee Bar in Celbridge, Co. Kildare last week. Based in a beautifully restored eighteenth-century building, Nest is a quirky coffee shop by day and a hip wine bar by night. Serving up several wines on tap and by the bottle alongside cheese and charcuterie boards, and other nibbles, it looks set to be a great addition to the North Kildare wine scene (pictured above).

Another of our members, Sevgi Tüzel-Conghaile, also launched her new business venture. You’ll know Sevgi from A Wine Idea, where she hosts consumer and corporate wine tastings and educational sessions. Recently she opened her online wine shop, where you can taste your way through some of the best wine regions in the world. 

CGA by NielsenIQ conducted a recent consumer survey and its results will be of much interest to those working in the on-trade. Six key trends were identified within the survey including the growth of low and no-alcohol drinkers. Read the full article here.

The popularity of Irish whiskey is on the rise as the Irish Whiskey Association reported a record-breaking 14 million cases were sold around the world in 2021, a 21% increase on 2020. The entire Irish Global Whiskey Report 2022 can be found here.

In late October we ventured up north where we visited two of the best distilleries Northern Ireland has to offer. Our first port of call was Copeland Distillery where we tasted gin, rum and whiskey – ideal for warming yourself up on a cold winter’s eve. The spirits here are world-class, and the proof is in the pudding (or perhaps barrel) as their list of awards is growing each year. At the 2021 Gin Awards Copelands Jones 1778 Navy Strength Gin won the Master prize (best of the best) and their Irish Gin took home Gold Prize

Our second stop was to Echlinville Distillery. This is distillery is behind some of Ireland’s most premium brands including Dunville’s Irish Whiskey, Jawbox and Feckin, to name but a few. They pride themselves on being “field to glass”, with their barley sown, grown, harvested and malted on their farm. Even a visit to their website will whet your whistle with lots of cocktail inspiration – we particularly advise you to hone your mixology skills and try the Belfast Coffee, made with Bán Poitín.

SommiT Ireland took place in Waterford from October 10-12 2022

The brainchild of Canadian-born sommelier Morgan VanderKamer, the current president of the Irish Guild of Sommeliers and Patricia Rogers, author of “The ZiNG! thing: fearless FOOD AND WINE together” the idea of SommiT Ireland was to gather together sommeliers and wine professionals to discuss service, not just wine.

Sommeliers, wine professionals and wine aficionados gathered to share ideas and expertise. There were masterclasses and virtual guest appearances from Ken Forrester all the way over in South Africa and also a representative from Charles Heidsieck joined the discussions.

This fantastic two-day summit included discussions on distinct grape varieties like the versatility of Chenin Blanc in different parts of the world, with interesting panellists offering their views and expertise. There were tastings, discussions of food and wine pairings and a food & wine workshop called “the Zing Thing”.

Topics also included the future of hospitality, embracing hospitality as a profession, the Brave New World of South Africa and more.

The event concluded with dinner at UNioN Kitchen, where Charles Heidsieck 2005 was served from magnum – overall, feedback has been that it was a fun and insightful event. We look forward to the next one!

Speaking to Wine Spirit Women about the event Morgan commented, “SommiT was sprung from many discussions on the importance of education in hospitality and how it was necessary to develop the future generations of Sommeliere and the hospitality as a whole. There is an absolute thirst for knowledge and for the development of community within the industry. The importance of the role of the Sommelier in any establishment should be nurtured and recognised for its importance, not only from a business perspective but also for the guest’s experience.”

Q&A with…

For November’s Q&A we chatted with Leah Kilcullen, Marketing Coordinator at Whiplash Beer. Prepare to get thirsty as she spills on her favourite beer and her dream drink destination. Read it here.


Borsa Vini Italiani 2022 takes place on Tuesday 8th November from 11:00 to 18:00 at the Hyatt Centric in Dublin. Trade registration here.

Pete’s Provisions have two upcoming tastings this month – 15th November: Wines from Catalonia and 29th November: Bordeaux & Burgundy.

On 17th November the Wine Spirit Education Trust will hose a beginners guide to sake in London. More information and registration details are here.

Wines Direct will host An Alternative Christmas on November 12th. Make this festive season one to remember with unusual and exciting wines. Tickets include eight tasting glasses and nibbles.

The Institute of Masters of Wine will host an introductory course, 20th – 24th April 2023 in Germany for anyone who is considering joining the MW programme.

South Belfast Gin Festival takes place on 3rd December at The Bowery. Guests will have the opportunity to taste over 60 gins from across the world. There will be live music and food throughout the day to get you in the festive spirit.

We recommend that any wine and spirits students or enthusiasts check out WSET Global. They run regular online sessions covering a broad range of topics including regions, grape variety, tips on how to taste professionally and more. On 6th December they’re showcasing Pisco – perfect timing for anyone planning their Christmas cocktails.

Keep an eye on Jean Smullen’s wine diary for upcoming events and tradeshows. Highlights for November include: 

03 Nov South African wine fair 

05 Nov Food & Wine Restaurant of the Year awards

07 Nov Webinar on Australian & NZ Pinot Noir 

08 Nov Borsi Vini Italian Wine fair

16 Nov Rioja 100kms of Diversity


Dublin’s Pearl Brasserie seeks an Assistant Restaurant Manager.

Distillery Technician, and other roles, are required at West Cork Distillers. 

In Laois, five-star hotel Ballyfin Demesne is hiring a Junior Sommelier.

Morgan’s Wine Merchants are looking for a full-time Sales Representative and Account Manager to represent the wines of Baron Patrick de Ladoucette. Interested candidates should email ruby@pembroke

MacNean House & Restaurant require a full-time waiter with wine experience to join the team. Send your CV to

Classic Drinks is hiring a Category Manager (Spirits) for the Cork office. 

Nest Wine and Coffee bar in Celbridge, Co. Kildare are looking for a manager for the wine bar. Email for more information.