The WineGeese Society

The Ireland Funds WineGeese Society celebrates wine, food, and art of Irish provenance from around the world.

All activities are funded by The WineGeese Society members.


The term WineGeese is based on the story of the Wild Geese, the Irish who fled their native land after the Battle of Kinsale in the 17th century. The motto of The Ireland Funds WineGeese Society is: From Wine what Wondrous Friendship Springs. The Society celebrates wine, food, and art of Irish provenance from around the world. The philosophy of the Society is perhaps best summed up in the gracious words of the late Maurice Healy in his book 'Stay me with Flagons'.

"What glass can engender so much kindly charity, so many acts of benevolence, so many comforting words of friendship as the glass that has been crowned by Bordeaux or Burgundy or Champagne? So give me wine. Let my meals still be occasions of good-fellowship, where pleasant conservation will help good digestion to wait on appetite and health on both. May the gleam of a glass of Claret still attract my tired eye and may I never drink unworthily; may I always remember that the gift which I am enjoying is not given to all; may I be prompted to help the less fortunate and to give thanks to the Giver of all good things for this, the most friendly of His gifts. Come, fill the glass. Your good health!"

Ireland's History with Wine

Many people find it remarkable that Ireland should have a wine drinking tradition dating back about two thousand years. The feast was central to Celtic life. One King of Connaught is reported as constantly going from one feast of purple wine to another. The Irish Chieftain's ennobled thirst for wine never waned over the ensuing centuries. In the 11th century the Norsemen of Limerick paid an annual tribute of a casket of red wine for every day of the year to Brian Boru.

The golden age of wine in Ireland was undoubtedly that of the 18th century when it was stated that Ireland flowed with wine as much as the land of Canaan with milk. For instance in 1740, 1,000 caskets of wine were supplied from Bordeaux to England and 4,000 to Ireland. Winegeese is the name given to the emigrant Irish families and their descendants who from the 18th century onwards engaged in the wine trade in the various countries of their adoption. Today their names and labels have become synonymous with quality on the international wine market and many of these pioneering wine families have played significant roles in the viticultural development of some of the finest wine-growing regions around the world, ranging from the Napa Valley in California to the Loire Valley in France, the Clare Valley in Australia and the Hemel En Aarde Valley in South Africa.

The Irish helped launch the wine industry in America. The oldest commercial surviving winery in California prior to Prohibition, the San Jose winery, built by the Santa Barbara Mission in the early nineteenth century, was owned by Irishman James McCaffrey from 1853 to 1900. The tradition continues with new wine properties in Bordeaux being opened by Tony Ryan at Chateau Lascombes, Lochlann Quinn at Chateau de Fieuzal and Terry Cross at Chateau de La Ligne. The WineGeese is an evocative name; it evokes a unique vinous tradition, a tradition that reveals a cultural identity that has long been the hidden jewel in the glittering Crown of the Irish diaspora.

From Cork to Claret: The Irish Wine Connection

The Irish have been credited with many things, including saving civilization as a New York Times bestseller once claimed. But when it comes to wine, their role is not widely recognized. Ted Murphy of the aptly named County Cork has sought to change that. And, thanks to the Ireland Funds Winegeese Society, that history is gaining a greater renown. A society of Winegeese may be easily misunderstood as a society of “wine geeks.” And that’s not far off. Murphy coined the name from the term “Wild Geese.” When King James II, the Catholic king of England, Ireland and Scotland, was deposed in the Glorious Revolution of 1688, he sought safety in France. After a religious crackdown in Ireland in 1691, many of his supporters, known as Jacobites, followed him to France via Bordeaux. This wave of Irish emigrants were known as the “Wild Geese.”

In the Media

A tour through Irish American wine country in California by

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WineGeese Wines

Irish French Chateaux

Chateau Pichon-Longueville-Lalande (Galway-Bordeaux)
Pauillac, Médoc
Burke-Miailhe May, Elianne madame de Lencquesaing (20th century)

Château Margaux (Dorgheda-Bordeaux)
Margaux, Médoc
Gernon, Richard (18th century)

Château Phélan-Ségur (Tipperary-Bordeaux)
St-Estephe, Médoc
Phelan, Frank (18th century)

Château Lascombes 
Margaux, Médoc
Ryan, Tony (20th century)

Château Clarke (Kilkenny-Bordeaux)
Haut Médoc
Clarke, Thobie (18th century)

Château MacCarthy (Cork-Bordeaux)
St-Estephe, Médoc
MacCarthy, Denis (18th century)

Château Léoville-Barton (Kildare-Bordeaux)
St-Julien, Médoc
Barton, Anthony (20th century)

Château Ducru-Beaucaillou (Armagh-Bordeaux)
Beaucaillou (St-Julien), Médoc
Johnston, Nathaniel (19th century)

Château Lynch-Bages (Galway-Bordeaux)
Pauillac, Médoc
(Since 1933 estate has been in the hands of the Cazes family, also Chateau Pichon-Longueville)
Lynch, Michel (18th century)

Domaine de L’Ile-Margaux (Cork-Bordeaux)
Margaux, Médoc
Lawton, Daniel (20th century)

Château Kirwan (Galway-Bordeaux)
Margaux, Médoc
Kirwan, Mark (18th century)

Château Pape-Clément (Dublin-Bordeaux)
Grave, Bordeaux
Maxwell, Samuel (20th century)

Château Haut-Brion (Galway-Bordeaux)
Grave, Bordeaux
Dillon, Joan Duchess de Mouchy (20th century)

Château de La Ligne (Belfast-Bordeaux)
Latresne, Entre-Deux-Mers
Cross, Terry (20th century)

Château Fieuzal
Leognan, Graves
Quinn, Lochlann (20th century)

Château d’Yquem (Limerick-Bordeaux)
Yquem, Bordeaux
MacMahon, Anne Comtesse de Lur Saluces (19th century)

Château de Goulaine (Cork-Nantes)
Muscadet, Loire
Galwey, Henrietta Marquise de Goulaine (19th century)

Hennessy Cognac (Cork-Cognac)
Chateau St-Brice, Cognac, Charente
Hennessy, Richard (18th century)

Irish American WineGeese

Sullivan Vineyards • Napa Valley • CA
Mahoney Estate • Napa County • CA
Allen Family • Napa Valley • CA
Flora Springs • Garvey Family • Napa Valley • CA
Mayacamas • Travers Family • Napa • CA
Connolly Family • Napa Valley • CA
Corley Family • Napa Valley • CA
Chateau Montelena • Barrett Family • Napa Valley • CA
Roche • Sonoma County • CA
Taft Street • Tierney Family • Sonoma County • CA
Kenwood • Lee Family • Sonoma County • CA
Limerick Lane • Collins Vineyards • Russian River • CA
Fitzpatrick Winery • Somerset • CA
Cronin Vineyards • Woodside • CA
Kathryn Kennedy • Saratoga • CA
Silver Mountain • Jerold O’Brien • Los Gatos • CA
The Celeidh • Mat Garretson • Paso Robles • CA
Maloy O’Neill Vineyards • Paso Robles • CA
Carmody McKnight • Paso Robles • CA
Gainey • Santa Barbara • CA
Foley • Santa Barbara • CA
Concannon • Livermore • CA
Thomas Coyne • Livermore • CA
Flynn • Oregon
Delaney • Texas
Callaghan • Arizona
Quilter • Chateau Shamrock • Ohio

WineGeese and Sherry

There are indeed a number of WineGeese families who founded sherry houses in Spain throughout the eighteenth century. The most notable of these being Raphael O Neal one of whose brands he named Wild Geese Sherry; Patrick Murphy who established in 1730 the firm that is today the famous house of Domecq; William Garvey from New Ross established in Jerez in 1798 and named his vineyards and his most famous sherry Saint Patrick. Today San Patricio Fino is considered one of the finest dry sherrys in the world.


One of the remarkable features of the Australian Wine Industry, is that many of its pioneers came from countries such as Ireland, who had no particular tradition in wine making but had a very particular tradition in wine drinking.

*Abbey Vale Vineyard, Bill McKay
Margaret River, Western Australia

John Barry Mount Avoca Vineyards

*Jim Barry Winery, Armagh Vineyard, 
Clare Valley, Southern Australia

Cape Clairault, Martin Family (Galway)
Willabrup, Margaret River, Western Australia

Chatsfield Wines, Ken Lynch (Dublin)
O’Neill Road, Mount Barker, Western Australia

Clonakilla Winery, John Kirk 
Murrumbateman, NSW
(Named after the family farm in Clare)

Craiglee Winery, Pat Carmody
Sunbury, Victoria

Cullens Winery, Cullen Family
Willyabrup, Margaret River, Western Australia

Rob Dolan
Yarra Valley, Victoria

Fermoy Estate (Named after John Anderson, 
founder of Fermoy in County Cork)
Willabrup, Margaret River, Western Australia

Flynn & Williams Winery, Flynn Family
Macedon District, Victoria

Leeuwin Estate, Denis Horgan (Cork)
Margaret River, Western Australia

*McGuigan Winery, Brian McGuigan
Pokolbin, NSW

McManus Wines, Dr. McManus
Murrumbridge, NSW

McWilliams Hanwood Winery, McWilliam Family (Belfast; pioneers of the Australian wine industry and still in the family business)
Hanwood, NSW

McWilliams Mount Pleasant, Maurice O’Shea Wines
Hunter Valley, NSW

O’Leary Walker, David O’Leary
Adelaide Hills, Southern Australia

Penfolds, Thomas Hyland (Penfold-Hyland Family)
Barossa Valley, Southern Australia

Rothbury Estate, Neil McGuigan (Belfast)
Pokolbin, NSW

Ryan & Broke Estate, Ryan Family
Broke, Hunter Valley, NSW

*Salitage Winery, John Horgan (Cork)
Pemberton, Western Australia

Seville Estate, Dr. Peter McMahon
Seville, Victoria

Stanton & Killeen Winery, Chris Killean
Rutherglen, Victoria

*Taylor Family Winery, Mitchell Taylor
Auburn, Clare Valley, Southern Australia

*Trenthem Estate, Anthony Murphy
Murray Valley, NSW

Walsh’s Wines
Bickley, Perth Hill, Western Australia

Wantirna Estate, Reg Egan
Melbourne, Victoria

Westfield Vineyards, Roche Family
Western Australia

Xanadu Lagan Estate (established by Drs. John Lagan, Omagh and Eithne Sheridan, Offally)
Margaret River, Western Australia