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Stay and Taste – Best Irish Escapes for Wine Lovers

A great wine experience goes beyond the bottle itself. Of course, at the core of it, there has to be a wine that pleases, but it is when the glassware, the food, the service and a place’s atmosphere align that the moment is elevated. 

If you are the type of holiday maker who looks at a hotel’s wine list before any brochures of nearby attractions, you’ll know that staying in a place where wine is not just an afterthought matters. 

Whether you appreciate the advice of a passionate sommelier, or enjoy browsing an extensive list full of surprises, we present you today with a selection of Irish hotels that excel at wine, ideal for you next summer break.

ashford castle wine dinner

Ashford Castle – Co. Galway

One of Ireland’s most luxurious hotels, Ashford Castle offers guests exceptional wine experiences. With a superlative cellar that holds over 5,500 bottles, a guided visit is only the beginning. 

The renovated 16th century tunnels underneath the venue have been turned into a stunning cellar where guests can enjoy tastings and wine dinners in unique and intimate surroundings.

While you’re welcome to enquiry about a bespoke tasting, they highlight specialities such as Ashford iconic white with 2012 Corton-Charlemagne André and Ashford Castle premier red tasting with 2000 Mouton-Rothschild. You can also experience their expert-led private masterclasses, which are available by appointment.

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The Twelve Hotel – Co. Galway

A Coravin-pioneer in Irish hospitality, and seven times winner of The Wine Spectator Award for ‘one of the most outstanding wine lists in the world’, The Twelve Hotel features a considerate and modern wine list that complements their menu and changes periodically.

Whether you wish to have a Vintage Port decanted before your arrival or you wish them to sabre your Champagne at the table for theatrical effect, their team will indulge. 

The hotel features 50 house wines by the glass, alongside daily specials (but almost all their wine list is available by the glass thanks to the Coravin technology). Expect a mix of familiar bottles and others imported exclusive for their cellars.

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Wineport Lodge

Wineport Lodge – Co. Westmeath

Nested in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands, you’ll enjoy gorgeous views of Lough Ree in this beautiful lodge where luxury meets cosy. The venue began its life as a restaurant back in 1993 and the food and wine experience has been at the front since day one.

Enjoy a glass in their new bar, The Grapevine. Their wine list offers a friendly and varied selection of varieties and styles with an emphasis in Europe but a strong presence from New World favorites.

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Ballymaloe House – Co. Cork

While known as a haven for food lovers, wine is also a major part of the experiences at Ballymaloe. You’re welcome to ask their sommeliers for a tour of the cellars or simply explore their multi award-winning wine selection at your table or room.

You can treat yourself to a fine bottle in a style you know and love, or let their expert team introduce to some of their more unique findings, including an exciting selection of natural whites, red, and amber.

If you feel like splurging, check out their selection of vintage Bordeaux and Burgundies. While France, Italy and Spain dominate the menu, there are plenty of options from within the rest of Europe and the world to entice you.

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Castlemartyr Resort – Co. Cork

This world-class five star hotel and spa is peak indulgence. For their lavish rooms to its splendid grounds, you’ll be absolutely spoiled. 

When it comes to their wine selection, they feature a well thought off selection including some from small family producers from around the world and bottles imported directly and exclusively for their guests.

Whether you enjoy a glass in their opulent Knight’s Bar, some bubbles with your afternoon tea, or choose a bottle -perhaps with a recommendation from their experienced sommeliers- at the elegant Bell Tower restaurant, wine at Castlemartyr Resort will be a memorable pleasure.

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The K Club – Co. Kildare

With names such as Petrus, Domaine de la Romanee Conti and Hermitage on page one, you can rest assured the K Club’s wine list is packed with stars. They have a diverse selection of wines by the glass, both house staples and Coravin specials, as well as an extensive array of bottles with a strong emphasis on France’s greats.

For Champagne lovers, you’ll find over a dozen options from some of the world’s most prestigious houses, including NV and vintage bottles to choose from.

If you are a Bordeaux enthusiast, stop and wonder at their dedicated section, with Cru Classes ranging from 2016 to 1928. If Burgundy is what your heart desires, then take your time choosing between Chablis, Meursault, Puligny Montrachet and other premium appellations.

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Ballyfin – Co. Laois

Private dinners and tastings can be arranged at Ballyfin’s atmospheric wine cellar. They proudly showcase a selection of bottles from ‘The Wine Geese.’ These are Bordeaux producers whose beginnings can be traced back to Irish exiles in centuries past.

Wines have been carefully selected for the cellar at Ballyfin from fourteen vineyards established by Irish exiles. And while Bordeaux lovers with a soft spot for Irish history are in luck, they’re not the only ones spoilt for choice. 

The wine list at Ballyfin is Francophile for sure, with many of the top  regions well represented, but it also features premium bottles from California, New Zealand, South Africa and Europe’s most beloved regions.

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Adare Manor – Co. Limerick

Alongside their Michelin-starred restaurant The Oak Room, the wine experience at Adare manor is also superb. The team of sommeliers has done a great job in making their 700+ wine list approachable and well structured. The list sits in a happy medium between adventurous and classic.

Besides wines by the glass (including both house favourites and Coravin specials), wine lovers can experience flight tastings and a variety of wine pairing sets created by the manor’s expert team, a great way to discover some of the bottles they’re most proud of.

Champagne fans will be seriously tempted by the selection of Krug, as The Oak Room is part of the Krug Ambassade program (and the only Irish venue in it), an exclusive network of venues around the world that represent the spirit of the Champagne house. Want more options? Their sparkling wine list features over 50 choices.

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Great Southern Killarney – Co. Kerry

The Wine Room at the Great Southern Killarney offers a casual yet elegant background for an award-winning wine experience. Thanks to the Enomatic wine serving system, you can have fun while exploring the various wines in the system, tasting and comparing at your leisure (and feel free to chat about them or ask questions to their enthusiastic team).

Their wine tasting packages are brilliant for groups looking to discover and enjoy together, and they all include an interactive presentation by a resident sommelier.

Their ‘by the glass’ selection is packed with crowd pleasers, but if you want to get off the beaten track, you’ll find some hidden gems in their bottles selection, sprinkle around classics from the world’s top regions. You’re welcome to book a space for a laid back guided wine tasting experience Thursday to Sunday, including two whites, two reds and a selection of cheese and charcuterie.

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Sheen Falls Lodge – Co. Kerry

Feast your eyes and get in the mood for wine by requesting a tour of one of the largest wine cellars in Ireland, with over 10,000 bottles, from 18 different countries. 

Inquiry about arranging an intimate group dinner or an unforgettable dinner or tasting for two in this unique surroundings.

You can also delight in your wine experience as part of a gourmet dinner in their 2 AA Rosette restaurant, The Falls. They occasionally host events such as tastings, paired dinners and masterclasses, so keep an eye out for special wine loving weekend once-offs.

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