Most everyone asks, "Why Irish Monkey?" Winemaker Bob Lynch (right) began monkeying around with the fruit of the vine in 1996, having successfully made dozens of competition-winning beers with friends. There was an appeal to making wine that benefits the patient soul: when wine is left to sit relatively undisturbed (yet attended to) for a length of time, it improves markedly. And so it was.
The first production was ... "not bad"... Bob had read dozens of books, studied the worlds wine-making techniques, and determined that HIS way of making wine was going to be superior. It wasn't. It also wasn't the first lesson in humility taught to him by the venerable grape and the world's mystic practitioners. Early on we learned that one can be too gentle as well as too aggressive in fermentation, in pressing, in racking, in treating the wine at each step. Truly, one can as easily err toward the timid as to the bold.
150 lbs of grapes were made into wine that first year. By 2002, we had grown to over 4,000 lbs. It was becoming obvious that we were well on our way to becoming a commercial family winery, if only we could figure out the subtleties necessary to make great wine. "Good" was becoming routine. "Very good" correlated to top-flight grapes and careful barreling plans. This may sound terribly obvious, but Bob and the team learned that good grapes and mediocre grapes look awfully much alike. There really is magic in the terrior and cepage of fine wine grapes that must be given its due.
Loreta and Bob coined the name Irish Monkey one evening with "the Wine Bunch" at the house. It seemed to fit, Bob's Irish background, and our fondness for the unusual and excellent. Within a few days, the first logo was ready, and the mission was set.
The 2007 vintage saw over 55,000 lbs of grapes turned into wine, and the upcoming vintages look to be equally exciting. We very much hope that you like the style that we've honed: fruit forward, moderate oak, varietal character in abundance, and the good flinty and earthy aromas of hand-pressed grapes underlying the palate.
[right to left] - Bob Lynch, Bill McFerren, Mark Ratto, Charlie Thomas. The wine was 2005 Primitivo.