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Northern Ireland market is our biggest, Australian winemaker

By Rachel Martin

Published 10/05/2016

Neil McGuigan with MasterChef star John Torode
Neil McGuigan with MasterChef star John Torode

The chief winemaker of one of Australia's best-known vineyards has said Northern Ireland is the firm's biggest market.

Neil McGuigan of McGuigan Wines - whose family originally come from Co Monaghan - said: "I think people see it as a local boy gone overseas, done good and sent wine back."

The Australian drinks company launched its new Founders Series of wines during an event at the Ulster Museum hosted by MasterChef star John Torode.

During the evening, the pair matched each wine to a different course.

In one course, the chef paired the brand's Cabernet Sauvignon with a seared sea bream rested on a bed of champ in a lemon butter sauce.

John Torode said: "It's a relationship of like-minded people who want people to be a bit more relaxed around food and wine and not be scared to try things.

"We're now looking at wine and food and how it works together. And how the world's changing."

Neil McGuigan added: "There's an ethos about good food which is springing up in Ireland. The consumption here is the largest of McGuigan wine anywhere in the world. The reason why our brand has done well, I think, is because our roots are in Ireland, Co Monaghan.

"We came to Australia around 180 years ago and there is a strong fondness between Australia and Ireland - it's the only place I can go in the world where my name is pronounced correctly."

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