Kingdom of Wine Book

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A Celebration of Ireland’s Winegeese by Ted Murphy

Just Published 2014: A Kingdom of Wine

The new edition of Ted Murphy’s award-winning A Kingdom of Wine:  A Celebration of Ireland’s Winegeese has just been published. Ted is the Honorary Chairman of The Ireland Funds’ WineGeese Society. The sold-out first edition is now followed by an equally sumptuously illustrated coffee table hardback book that traces the winemaking and wine trading history of the Irish from pre-Christian times to the present day.

This book was made possible by the support of the Patrons of The Ireland Funds’ WineGeese Society. As wine writer Tomás Clancy notes, “Ted Murphy in offering this revised edition has extended again the reach of his scholarship. In that he is an example to all scholars in never resting or being satisfied with his information, he is always eager to refine, review, and embrace every new shred of information and evidence. This makes the second edition a vital addition to the body of wine and wine history writing because, like the first edition it is breaking new ground again, telling new stories and bringing an even clearer picture of the Irish hand in sculpting our present picture of wine.”

Coined by the author, Winegeese is an evocative name, bringing to mind a unique vinous tradition that reveals a cultural identity which has long been the hidden jewel in the glittering crown of the Irish diaspora. A Kingdom of Wine is their history and tribute.

A portrait gallery of important wine families of Irish ancestry is created in words and pictures along with a unique collection of modern Winegeese bottles and wine-related artifacts such as wine vessels dating from the Bronze Age; Irish drinking glasses and decanters dating from 18th century; and an extensive collection of early corkscrews from around the world.

The Irish went to France in the 18th century, especially to Bordeaux, where they played an important role, as well as in the Loire valley and Cognac. The Winegeese tradition continues with examples such as Château de Fieuzal, and most recently by Château Haut Garrigue/Feely Wines and Terry Cross at Château de La Ligne. Anthony Barton, one of the most distinguished wine makers in Bordeaux, was born in Kildare and continues to make wine at Langoa Barton where his family established a vineyard in 1725. The impact the Winegeese families made in the finest winegrowing regions in the New World is documented, ranging from the Napa Valley, Clare Valley in Australia to the Hemel an Aarde valley in South Africa.

The new edition expands coverage of all regions and includes a new preface by Tomás Clancy, Irish wine writer, journalist, and broadcaster who places the book in its contemporary context.

About the Author

Ted Murphy has a passion for his subject – the history of wine and anything to do with it. Working mainly in large wine distribution companies, he converted his hobby interest in antiques to focusing his collecting on wine artifacts, most of them of Irish origin, many of which are in this book.

Discovering links between Ireland and some of the great wines of the world started him on a road that for him is an unending and exciting one. From the discovery of the interest the Irish had in celebrating with wine in pre-Christian times, to blending it in the 18th century, to the history of those who left Ireland to trade in and to later become prestigious players in its production, the journey became more exciting with every revelation.

Around 1980, he began to realize there was even more to know about the Irish interest in wine, and soon his accumulation of facts and figures, became larger and larger files. Collecting wine labels in his extensive travel throughout Europe and the US, visits to wineries led to exchanges of information to mutual benefit. Friendships with winemakers and château owners grew and his enthusiasm became infectious. A Kingdom of Wine is its expression.

The book follows the 1990 six-part television series The Winegeese inspired by his discoveries of the links between Ireland and the wines of the world. Consulting on wine lists to restaurants and hotels, he is a regular lecturer to academics and special interest groups worldwide.

In 2007, Ted Murphy received an honorary doctorate from University College Cork in recognition of his lifelong research and scholarship in wine history. In the same year, he was awarded “The Best Book in the World for Wine History for 2006” at the Gourmand Awards in Beijing, China. The Gourmand World Cookbook Awards seeks to help readers find the best out of the approximately 24,000 food and wine books produced each year. The worldwide winners are selected from over 5000 entries in 48 categories.

He is Honorary Chairman of The WineGeese Society of The Ireland Funds, founder member of the Order of the Winegeese, a member of the Commanderie du Bontemps de Médoc et des Graves, and the Order of the Chevaliers Bretvins. He is a director of Château de La Ligne in Bordeaux.

Other passions are rugby and cricket which for many years he played at senior level.

Ted Murphy lives in Fountainstown, County Cork, Ireland with his wife Garry.