Free 12 bottle competition at bottom of post. CLOSED TODAY FRIDAY MARCH 11th at 2.00pm. WINNER IS HELEN KELLY - congrats!!
Maurice O’Mahony, director of Wine Alliance, is known for his sweet tooth so it was appropriate that we met up at a local Glanmire cafe called The Cream for a look back at the first six months trading for the wine import and distribution company.
Was he and Galway partner Frank worried as the launch of the company approached last August? Would Wine Alliance even move in the recession doldrums?
“Yeah, some people said we were mad. But we always wanted our own company and we are passionate about wine. Frank, who had set up the company, was looking for a partner. It was still a big thing for me but after two years in Karwig Wines where I got great experience and left as a good friend, we knew what we were getting ourselves into and besides we had sourced some wines that we were confident would punch above their weight.”
“The first six months have been kind to us. We love what we do and growth has been good. Now we have 25 to 30 outlets, spread all over the country, predominantly in the Off Trade and Wine Shops and also in restaurants.”
What kind for reception did you get in the market-place?
“Well, aside from the few asking if we had taken leave of our senses, and some of those were joking, we have been hugely encouraged by our reception. Other people in the trade, Karwig for example, have been extraordinarily generous with their time and advice. Customers keep coming up with good tips and help. The wine trade is as competitive as any but still people in it take the time to be helpful and we appreciate the time and advice that they give.”
Your entry levels wines opened the door for you?
“Well yes, but we do have wines that deliver at every price point, from our Portuguese entry levels at €6.99 right up to our Kangarilla Road bottles. Packaging is attractive and helps our wines stand out but, yes, the entry levels did open the door for us, established us as reliable and made it easier to sell the more expensive wines.”
Anything exciting in the pipeline?
“Yeah, the pipeline is positively buzzing. We have new Italians and New Zealand on the way, followed by some superb stuff from the Barossa, a lovely new Prosecco and some good wines from the Rhone Valley and Languedoc-Roussillon. Now, we are even being approached by producers to take on their wines but we are lethally rigorous in our selections and will remain so.”
What are your own stand-out wines from the range?
“I must say that the Kangarilla Road Devil’s Whiskers blew me away. I have a soft spot for the Stellas as they opened more accounts for us than anything else and it is a great wine for the price. When we introduced Stella, we had just eight wines in our portfolio. Now we have 40 and expect to have between 50 and 60 at year’s end.
You have some good news for our readers?
“Yes indeed. We are putting up 12 tasty French bottles,six red and six white, and all you have to do to be included in the draw is go to our Facebook page here. ..and like us. Simple as that. But you must be over 18 and remember that we can deliver only to Republic of Ireland addresses. Good luck!”