Veganuary Vino!

Looking for some excellent quality Vegan-friendly wines this Veganuary? Fionnuala Harkin from Wines Direct and the wonderful Wine Shed gives her top picks for vino-loving vegans this January...

BT Wines of West Limerick have developed the world's first Irish Peat Wine.  A unique and innovative wine - and intriguing...

Veganuary Vino!

Looking for some excellent quality Vegan-friendly wines this Veganuary? Fionnuala Harkin from Wines Direct and the wonderful Wine Shed gives her top picks for vino-loving vegans this January…

Fionnuala is a woman of many talents when it comes to wine! Not only is she a wine merchant for the wonderful Wines Direct, she is also a wine consultant for the hospitality industry, a WSET course instructor and also founder of the brilliant Wine Shed West Cork.

She has an immaculate palate, and her wine knowledge is immense! Back in the time before the C-word, Fionnuala established Wine Shed – a boutique gathering of people who love wine, great company, delicious nibbly bits and wanted to wrap all of that up as an excuse to learn more about wine. I attended, I think, three of the events and they were always brilliant. Since we found ourselves in Covid-restricted times, when such jovial gatherings are on hold until some hopeful point in the future, Fionnuala took to her @wineshedwestcork Instagram account to give a regular Wine O’Clock virtual tasting on new and interesting wines. It kept the Wine Shed community going, and also brought her knowledge to a whole new audience. One day, the gatherings will commence again, but in the meantime, I encourage you heartily to follow Fionnuala and @wineshedwestcork.

Fionnuala Harkin of Wines Direct & Wine Shed (photo credit: @thadytraphoto)

Of course, it’s January, and that means it’s also Veganuary – a time when we are encouraged to try and up our quotient of plant-based foods or go completely Vegan for one month as a way to raise awareness of the movement. Even though I am a carnivore, after the Christmas excesses, Veganuary seems a good idea as a way of getting used to eating in a normal, and healthy, way again!

It is not widely known that wine is not always guaranteed Vegan, and in fact it may not always say it on the label either. This is where having a connection with a local wine merchant, like Fionnuala, comes in fierce handy – they will know which wines are and are not Vegan friendly.

So I asked Fionnuala if she could share with me her recommendations for excellent quality January wines for Veganuary. And note that excellent quality doesn’t translate automatically as ‘pricey’ and there are wines here for every budget.

All these wines are available to order online at for delivery direct to your door. And if you would like a little extra advice, you can contact Fionnuala either by DM to @wineshedwestcork or by email to

Wines Direct have about 150 excellent vegan wines available – but here is a small selection that Fionnuala really rates! Price per bottle in brackets, and links to the correct Wines Direct page are included too.

In the ‘natural, unfiltered, for the more adventurous drinker’ category, Fionnuala recommends:


Review: Irish Peat Wine

BT Wines of West Limerick have developed the world’s first Irish Peat Wine.  A unique and innovative wine – and intriguing…

Brendan and Trisha, the lifelong friends from West Limerick with a passion for good food and wine, have spent the past few years developing their product – Irish Peat Wine.  It’s a first in every possible way.  Together as BT Wines, they have created a beautiful wine that blends their creativity, ingenuity and enthusiasm into every last drop.

Brendan and Trisha source their Pinot Noir grapes from small vineyards in the Rheinhessen and Pfalz regions of Germany’s famous Rhein valley, carefully selected to ensure the marriage of vine and peat is perfectly matched.  Maturation of the wine, developed by Brendan and Trisha over many years, happens through their application of a truly innovative process using peat sourced from the boglands of West Limerick.  Similar to the process of Oaking, this allows the wine to settle and develop its complex palate and richly deep ruby red colour.

This wine is full of surprises.  It will also leave you speechless for a while; make you smile, maybe produce an involuntary chuckle of delight. But mainly it will leave you in awe.


It has the most inviting deep ruby colour that is as clear and glassy at the precious stone itself.  Upon the nose, there is the comforting smell of peat but almost as a half remembered dream.  It stirs the memory and comforts – recreating feelings of sitting beside a turf fire with people of good humour, or alone in contemplation.  Upon the palate, it has superb structure providing a front mouth, mid-mouth and finishing flavours that change perceptively.  It is rich and rounded from the peat, yet retaining its lightness – characteristic of classic pinot noirs.  The final surprise is its warming finish.  Akin to the welcoming warmth of an imbibed whiskey, but in a wine that is perfectly balanced with little hint of aggressive tannin.  It simply is a delight to experience this wine, and to appreciate it for the dedication to the craft of small batch wine making.  The addition of the Irish Peat is a clever, ingenius addition that is far, far removed from a gimick and shows an understanding of wine making, wine appreciation and a celebration of place that is to be applauded and supported with fervour.

As Brendan Reddin says: “It is our passion for wine and our love of home that inspired us to develop Irish Peat Wine”

This is a complex wine that needs to be tasted to be truly appreciated…

For more information, and to find their current list of stockists, visit their website at

Trisha meets Ryan on the Late Late Show 3rd Feb



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