Italian Denny Baldin who now lives in Cloughjordan is producing wine in North Tipperary with the help of a local farmer. And Denny's verdict of the Tipperary wine: "It's delicious!". PHOTO: ODHRAN DUCIE

How about a glass of Tipp wine?

It seems like a little bit of the Mediterranean has come to north Tipperary with wine now being produced near the village of Cloughjordan.

The wine is being made by Italian-born Denny Baldin who, with the help of a local farmer, is growing vines in two polytunnels that simulate the climate found in wine producing countries such as France, Italy, Spain and Portugal.

Denny, the founder of the Irish Wine Co-op, has managed to already produce his own white wine from last year’s grape harvest. And the verdict? “It’s “delicious”, he enthuses.

And, now Denny believes that his success story could have massive potential for farm families all over Ireland.

“This is a unique business model that could potentially turn into a highly lucrative venture for everyone in rural Ireland,” he says.

With the venture having being started here in the Premier County, Denny would like to see Tipperary eventually earn the reputation as the “Irish Wine County”.

“As an Irish wine lover and former wine maker, I have always been fascinated by the idea of making wine in Ireland,” says Denny, who grew up with winemaking in his native Piedmont and who later managed a vineyard in France.


The business model drawn up by the co-op is that the vines grown in each polytunnel would produce one barrel of wine a year, equivalent to around 300 litres.

He says standard sized polythene tunnels of 12 x 6 metres or 15 by 9 metres are relatively inexpensive structures and can easily be set up to simulate a Mediterranean microclimate for the growing of grapevines in Ireland.

Denny has done his calculations and sums and is optimistic that the production of wine from polytunnels has the potential to be a real success story. “This presents a highly viable and profitable business opportunity for everyone in rural Ireland and in particular for our youth, farmers and others,” he asserts.


Currently, the Irish wine market has a turnover of approximately €1.5 billion a year, but all 55 million bottles sold here are imported. He says there is a gap in the sector that is there to be filled from an Irish producers’ market. “We have the potential to tap into this market by producing locally-sourced, high-quality organic Irish wine that is both unique and highly marketable.”

He believes there is room for Ireland to reap rich dividends if the country specialised in producing organic wine. “We could tap into this immense global market, giving us access to a larger customer base than the sole domestic Irish wine market.”

He says Ireland could look for inspiration to the Netherlands as a prime example of how to farm by creating warmer microclimates with glasshouses and polytunnels. “The Dutch have achieved a staggering €94 billion a year in agri-food export turnover, second in the World only to USA, far surpassing the €14 billion a year Irish food export turnover.”

Inspired by the success achieve in Holland, Denny says “we can become the only wine producer in the world 100% organic, offer everyone the opportunity to conquer the Organic Wine World.”

He says Ireland could produce an organic wine that would be “both unique and highly marketable”.

He contends that by not following the conventional “rigid industrial wine dogma” practiced in many wine producing countries, Ireland could produce an organic wine that could be a novelty in the market, possibly a product incorporating elderberry flowers or some local aromatic gin.

The wine currently being produced near Cloughjordan comes mainly from the Gamay vine tree, the same one that goes into making wine in the French Beaujolais area. “Here in Cloughjordan we have planted around 50% of Gamay, 50% of other strain such as Sauvignon Gris, Cabernet Blanc, Cabernet Cantor, etc.,” he reveals.

The declared goal of the co-op is to roll out a national training programme on wine production and create an Irish wine sector capable of producing 30 million bottles of Irish wine over the next 12 years.

And so, let us propose a toast to that staggering aspiration!