July 21, 2024

Lusk farmer has found the sweet spot for Irish wine and cider

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David Llewellyn produces quality drinks from his grapes, apples and other fruits

David Llewellyn grows grapes (both under cover and outdoors), pears, apples, cherries and various other fruits on his farm in Lusk, Co Dublin. From these he produces red wine, sparkling wine, cider, perry, apple juices and vinegar.

Having highlighted the problems apple grower Olan McNeece faced a few weeks ago, I was wary of asking him about his 2021 harvest, but I needn’t have worried. “I am in a nice, sweet spot climatically. I didn’t choose it, I was just lucky. We are five kilometres from the sea, so don’t get the onshore breezes, but we are close enough to avoid most of the heavy frosts that you get a few kilometres inland. On the downside, daytime temperatures are lower.

David Llewellyn harvesting grapes in Lusk, Co Dublin
David Llewellyn harvesting grapes in Lusk, Co Dublin

“For the grapes it was good. After two minuscule crops, 2021 brought good yields and really nice healthy, ripe fruits. Even the young wine I bottled as a nouveau, and sold through Deveney’s in Dundrum, was very nice. I am using all of the indoor grapes for my sparkling wine. The base wine is looking really good. The 2021 will be ready a year from now.

“We had repeated frosts in spring that hit our pears, apples and grapes when the buds were just bursting out. We got hit sporadically; one degree lower for a little longer and we would have been wiped out.”

Sales of Llewellyn’s sparkling wine are going well. At €70 a bottle, it’s a niche sale, but according to Llewellyn, “anyone who tries it, loves it. Terroirs in Donnybrook is really enthusiastic about it, as is Celtic Whiskey.” He also sells direct (087-2843879).

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