The Irish Connection in the South Downs.

Winemaker and Munster native Dermot Sugrue who grew up in Kilmallock Co. Limerick is the award-winning sparkling winemaker at Wiston Estate and Sugrue ‘Trouble with Dreams’ in Sussex / South Downs.

It was great to catch up once again with Dermot when we skyped him in during wine class at Ballymaloe Cookery School for a talk and tasting with the 12-week certificate cookery course students.

Dermot Sugrue’s winemaking experience has seen him work in Bordeaux, at Chateau l’Eglise-Clinet, Pomerol and Chateau Leoville-Barton, St Julien and also in Champagne for Jacquinot & Fils. Dermot was the winemaker at Nyetimer, before moving to establish Wiston sparkling wine where farmers Harry and Pip Goring dreamed of turning part of their estate into a top sparkling wine vineyard, its farmland straddling the chalky slopes of the South Downs. (We poured Wiston sparkling at the Litfest talk with wine writers Hugh Johnson & John Wilson in the Drinks Theatre at Ballymaloe)

Dermot Sugrue also has his own personal project from vineyards on the South Downs – the award winning Sugrue ‘Trouble with Dreams’. Dermot’s late Grand-Uncle was Dr Brendan O’Regan, a legendary Irish visionary instrumental in so many things in his native Munster region including the world’s first duty free at Shannon Airport in 1947. He “firmly believed in following your dreams and never giving up on an idea”. Sugrue ‘Cuvée Dr Brendan O’Regan’ was created by Dermot in honour of his late great Grand Uncle. (We proudly poured Sugrue cuvée ‘Dr Brendan O’Regan’ at the state dinner on the occasion of the visit to Cork of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall at the dinner in the Crawford Art Gallery Cork)