When you first hear of a person mixing drama and wine, you immediately conjure up visions of drunken arguments between friends. However for Susan Boyle it does not conjure up such things, it simply means the coming together of her passion for wine and a talent for acting and performing. Boyle graduated from Trinity with a BA in Drama and Theatre Studies and has, as she puts it, an interest for wine tasting thanks to growing in the family pub and off-licence in Kildare Town. “My Dad would get these invitations to wine tastings and I was a little bit young when I started college so I found it much easier to and put on a nice gúna and go to a fancy wine tasting and taste wine than it was to get entry in to my college bar” explains Boyle with a chuckle.
Talking to Boyle her passion and deep knowledge of not just wine but everything that goes into making it is clearly evident. It is only understandable therefore that following college she studied up to advanced level in wine tasting with WSET (the Wine and Spirit Education Trust) and became a wine and drinks consultant. Through her show A Wine Goose Chase, Boyle has managed to marry her vast knowledge of wine and sheer talent for performing together and receive rave reviews in the process. A Wine Goose Chase examines the many surprising connections Ireland has to the world of wine. As well as Irish connections to many of the famous vineyards around the globe, Boyle also explains that the first commercial corkscrew was made by Irish man Thomas Reid in Dublin in 1790.
Because wine is an import for us we get it from all over. Even on the most regional or basic wine list you will see at least four or five different countries
Boyle believes that we in Ireland are at a distinct advantage when it comes to wine. “Because wine is an import for us we get it from all over. Even on the ,most regional or basic wine list you will see at least four or five different countries represented and you will find at least two or three continents too and that is incredible for a small little country like us that we have such diversity.” This is why Boyle says the easiest way to find a wine that works for you is to experiment and find the right one. She suggests “if you spent a summer teaching English in Spain, think of the wines you might have tasted there. Look for those wines again and try them”. She also suggests meeting up with friends and swapping wines to experience ones from different areas and regions cheaply.
For Boyle a camera or phone is not just for remembering drunken escapades of the previous night. She highly recommends taking photos of wine bottle labels so you can ‘remember the details that are easily forgotten the following morning’. For those who are very unsure about wine Boyle views small independent off-licences as a great tool for those looking for wine. “You will find bucket loads of people who want to help. You learn by asking and admitting that you have loads more to learn “
When it comes to paying for wine Boyle highlights the high tax rate Ireland has on wine and reminds people that almost a fiver ‘goes straight to the government’ on top of the price to make the bottle and transport the wine. To get good quality wine she recommends investing a bit more to ensure what is inside the bottle is worth it. She also advises against quarter bottles saying “The little cuteness of a quarter bottle tends to eat up the money that should be going in to the grape juice in the bottle”. If you do experience the ‘first world problem of left over wine’ as Boyle puts it, it can kept and used to make sauces and stews ‘taste gorgeous’.
On what to look out for in 2015 Boyle suggests becoming accustomed to sherry. “Rumour is that sherry is getting cool. I love sherry, it can be a very acquired taste and it can confuse people because there are so many different styles. But there is definitely a resurgence of it in London at the moment.” Boyle suggests starting off sharing a bottle with friends and finding one that works for you. More importantly she says “take the sherry bottle out of the hands of the old grannies and give it back to the youth.”
More information on A Wine Goose Chase can be found on awinegoosechase.com. You can find Susan on twitter under the handle @miss_susanboyle