We are having a bit of a make-over. You may be aware of the cider rumblings that have been coming from this quarter for a while now, and if you weren’t then apologies for any confusion caused by these changes.

The twitter account is no longer @the_WineStore, it is now @graapples – we’re now in a place where grapes and apples collide (but to be honest I’m still tweeting about a fair bit more than just wine and cider). We’re not fermenting the two in the same place, at the same time, but we are changing direction. While continuing to make wine in the Rhône, Simon is now making cider in Wicklow as well. Having been a frustrated fermenter for a while he now finds it is,  a bit like the arrival of the proverbial buses, all starting to happen at once. This does mean that September & October (grape harvest & wine-making in France) and October & November (apple harvest & cider-making in Ireland) have joined December (the busiest time of the year on the wholesale side of things) as being fairly manic months, but there’s always January (traditionally a quiet period for us) to look forward to and to be honest we’re happy to be busy.

There is a lot of ground work being prepared at the moment and at times we feel like we’re stuck in the hamster wheel but every now and then when we look up we realise we’re making wine and cider and that is amazing. We are still importing and selling wine of course, still concentrating on the Rhône but also bringing in delicious stuff from other parts of France and Spain too, and continuing to thoroughly enjoy that as well. At the moment we can’t sell the cider through the Wine Store due to licencing but we’ll let you know where it’s available once it is out there on the shelves, I’ll tweet that and we’ll have it up on the Craigies Cider facebook page too.

The cider is being made with Angus Craigie outside Grange Con in Co. Wicklow. It will be bottled under the name Craigie’s Cider and the first batch due to hit the shelves late November 2012 will be called ‘The Ballyhook Flyer’ the inspiration for the name came from Angus’ and Froggy’s entry to the Grange Con soapbox derby (some other fine entries to this race can be seen here.)

The cider has had a bit of press in the run up to its being launched,  and we are delighted to be a founding member of Cider Ireland. You can read about this over on the Cider Ireland website. Cider Ireland is a new all-Ireland initiative where the craft cider makers in the island of Ireland (i.e. those making cider from 100% Irish grown apples and not from any concentrate) have got together to support one another and to help promote Irish Cider. In the mind of most of the people cider and beer and put in the same bracket. However cider is, like wine, fermented cider is made but beer is brewed. This is quite a difference. Cider, true cider, is like wine, an annual product which has a vintage and will therefore vary somewhat in taste from year to year. If you’d like to read more on cider in Ireland you can have a look at some recent press reviews like this one from the Sunday Business Post Cider house rules Sunday Business Post 16 Sept 2012 and more recently in the Sunday Times (Irish edition, 11 November 2012).


If you’re following this blog and would like to keep up to date then please migrate with us to our new home Grapes and Apples which you’ll find here.