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 in our Irish Vineyard. 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 Irish 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, the village where our vineyard and orchard are located, 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, all for red wine. Until recently we also had vines of Sauvignon Blanc, Schoenburger and Gewuerztraminer for white wine, but we have removed these and replaced them with new red wine varieties. At present we have a very tiny annual production of around 500 bottles per year. With the additional vines we have recently planted, we hope to increase that to around 2,000 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.
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 made tiny amounts of experimental wine with their grapes. In 2012 we planted a larger plot of Rondo, and we had our first small crop of grapes from them in 2015, despite the relatively poor summer.
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 in Ireland if you contact us.
If you would like to reserve wine which is not yet bottled, you can contact us and we can discuss it with you. In Ireland you can get Lusca wine from a selection of wine shops (listed on our Shop page), or directly from us at the vineyard or at our Farmers Markets.
If you need the wine sent further afield, within the EU or even to the US for example, then please contact www.winesonthegreen.com – they can send it anywhere in the world.