As St. Patrick’s Day arrives, the rich Irish culture will once again knock on our doors, inviting us to join the celebration; parades of green, Irish meals, and Irish drinks. It’s a memorable day, especially for wine lovers.
Ireland doesn’t usually jump out as an immediately wine-related destination. Have you wondered why wines are associated with St. Patrick’s Day? How did it start? How it became popular? To shed some light, here are some facts about wines.
- Monks are believed to have started Irish wines. It began in the 5th century when the monks of the Cistercian Monastery planted a vineyard to produce wines needed for mass. These monks also travelled across the continent to help their brothers produce their own wine, too. They became not just missionaries, but also viticulturists.
- Wine facts were unearthed in Desmond Castle. Surprising facts about Irish wine history found in Desmond Castle in Kinsale. This castle now serves as a venue for the International Museum of Wine exhibition.
- Wine grapes have over 10,000 varieties. Most of these have been developed through grafting and other methods for hybrid plant production. Some of the most popular are Cabernet Franc, Gewurztraminer, Pinotage, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Viognier.
- Wine, originally, had little to do with St. Patrick’s Day. We often wonder why drinking is associated to St. Patrick’s Day, which is, in fact, a religious holiday. Some point to the Irish government supporting tourism decades ago. Booze, concerts, fireworks, and parades were eventually added to the bill. And of course, our beloved country hopped in. New York City made it popular with their parade and Chicago with their “green river”.
Whether you’re a wine drinker or not, enjoy the celebration. Sing with it. Dance with it. Wear green garb. Join the parades. Cook some Irish meals. Bring the kids outside and have some fun. This only happens once in a year. So give your best shot. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!