The Wild Geese of Ireland

and their wines

The term "Wild Geese" applies to soldiers involved in the Treaty of Limerick in 1691. These 20,000 or so Irish soldiers signed a treaty with the English to end hostilities and then sailed to France. The English then went back on the treaty, persecuting the remaining Irish Catholics. Enraged, the Irish soldiers joined the French army in order to fight back. As more and more Irish left its shores to join the French, they were listed on shipping manifests as "Wild Geese".

Eventually some people began using this term for any Irish man who joined a foreign army to fight the English, and over time, some have even used "Wild Geese" to apply to any Irish person who left Ireland for any cause. Even if that cause was only to make fine wines!

As I've reported before, there are very few wineries in Ireland. While the EU has designated Ireland a wine-producing region, the wineries there are very small and only produce enough wine for their own consumption. They are mostly in County Cork, and most are 5 acres or less.

With the spread of Irish descendants across the globe, you can now find Irish-related wines in pretty much every corner of the globe! Here's a selection of a few you might run across in your local wine shop.


, Australia
The Clonakilla winery is run by John Kirk, who is of Irish descent. The winery name means "meadow of the church" in Gaelic - after his grandfather�s farm in County Clare. It was set up in 1971, and now produces, amongst other wines, a Shiraz-Viognier blend.


, Australia
The winery is named after a small bird (the Chat) that lives near the vineyards. The founder and winemaker, Dr. Ken Lynch, was born in Ireland. He makes environmentally friendly wines including a Cab Franc and Gewurztraminer.
Irish wine Glass


, Marlboro, New York
Benmarl is the Gaelic word for the slate-marl soil found at this New York vineyard, which is in fact the oldest vineyard in the US! It was planted in 1827, and renamed Benmarl in 1957 by the Miller family. They grow seyval, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and several other wines in their Hudson Valley location.

Glen Fiona

, Walla Walla, Washington
Literally "Valley of the Vine" in Gaelic, Glen Fiona produces Syrah, and only Syrah. They've been making this since 1995.

Wines of Ireland