Free wine anyone? Anyone?

Most of us like a glass of wine or two, whether we know much about it or not. And most of us at least know what kinda wine we generally like, whether that’s an ice-cold glass of Pinot Grigio, a very lightly chilled Pinot Noir or a rib-sticking new world Shiraz – or indeed whatever you’re having yourself. But it’s always fun to get a little bit outside of your comfort zone and try something you mightn’t ordinarily get a chance to try, and maybe learn a little about it while you’re at it. And if you can get to taste a few new wines without having to pay for the pleasure, all the better right? It was one of the lesser-expected, better-loved fringe benefits of a decade and a half of waiting tables from my teen years on – the chance to sip and savour wines that were beyond my normal budget (usually left behind by a table full of wine-soaked barristers at the end of a boozy Friday lunch).

So, today I’m giving you not one but TWO chances to sip and savour wine FOR FREE!

First up, there’s the O’Brien Winemakers Experience taking place in Dublin’s Mansion House tonight and tomorrow (Fri 8th & Sat 9th). More details are to be found in my last post (click here) but if you want to win a pair of tickets, you’ll have to go to my Holy Mackerel facebook page (click here). Then all you have to do is to ‘like’ the page (please and thank you), tell me what your favourite tipple is at this time of year, and make sure you leave your name and some form of contact details, whether that’s your twitter handle, email or whatever. I’ll announce the winner by tea-time and your name will be left on the door with a pair of tickets valid for any one of the three sessions this weekend.

You’re welcome!

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But wait! Don’t be running off yet. There’s more opportunities for free wine swilling, I mean tasting.

Besides my weekly wine column in the Irish Mail on Sunday, I look after a monthly wine feature in FOOD&WINE Magazine, called The Guinea Pig tasting. The idea is that as well as the regular round-up of 20 wines every month conducted by wine editor Raymond Blake along with some hand-picked industry experts, the magazine also offers a different bunch of readers a chance to give their take on a half-dozen wines. The wines are chosen by my good self, tasted blind by that month’s Guinea Pigs, and then we write up their comments alongside my own take on the wines.

We’re always looking for volunteers, so if you think you can round up four more thirsty people who you maybe work with, or read books with, or play footie with, or anything that makes you a collective of some sort, then we’d love to hear from you. We’ve had builders and nurses (both maternity and psychiatric) and panto casts and comedians and boutique owners and Electric Picnickers and ICA women and GAA coaches and all sorts of other kinds of walks of life. You don’t need any particular wine knowledge or experience, just to enjoy drinking it and to be prepared to tell us what you think of the wines we taste. If you’re interested, please leave a note on my Facebook page saying so, again with some way to contact you, and I’ll be in touch. (Or you could contact me on carrigy AT gmail.com if you’re not on Facebook.) I’ve a couple of dates coming up later this month, so would love to have you and your crew along.

Cheers!

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