Meet the Team

Meet the team

Our Team are experts in all things wine, beers & spirits, with a combined experience of over 30 years in the business.

We are more than happy to help you with your purchase, whether it’s something for a special occasion, a gift or a night in at home. 

Position

Dante: store Manager & Wine expert

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

I’m from Peru originally. I moved to Ireland in 2009 but my love for wine started long before, first working as a hotel manager in Peru and then as a crew member of The Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.

How did you come to be in The Wine Centre?

I was very lucky, I had just moved to Kilkenny from Dublin and someone told me that The Wine Centre was looking for a Wine Sales Advisor. I applied, got the job and that was in November 2010.

What is your favourite wine or beer and why?

My favourite wine is the well produced one. I just like a good bottle of wine. I don’t have any preference for grapes, regions or countries. I like to explore all of them and find the perfect one.

What is your favourite wine region/country and why?

My favourite country from a studies point of view would be France. There is a lot to learn and you need to be very knowledgeable to talk about it. But I also like how variable Italy and Portugal are as wine producing countries.

What’s the best tip you’ve ever been given when it comes to wine/beer/etc?

The more studies about wine you do, the more you realise that you don’t know anything about wine. Wine education is incredibly valuable but also very frustrating for people who want to get a higher wine education.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve been asked/asked for?

Working in a wine environment you always get a lot of customers and of course a lot of questions:

1. Can I have a bottle of Champagne from Italy?

2. Can I have a Cotes du Rhone Cabernet Sauvignon?

3. I bought a 12 year old single malt whiskey 6 years ago, does that mean it is 18?

Position

Simon: Head of online, ecommerce & general dogsbody!

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

Originally from the UK so I’m a blow-in! Depending the the mood, quite partial to a glass of red, a peated whiskey or an IPA.

How did you come to be in The Wine Centre?

I started working for one of the other businesses within the O’Keeffe’s Group a while back and gradually progressed to concentrating full on Wine Centre duties!

What is your favourite wine or beer and why?

Depends on the time of year, but a red wine with juicy, dark fruit flavours usually hits the spot.

What is your favourite wine region/country and why?

I have a soft spot for Italian wine having got married there, but at the moment I’m working my way through some of our Portuguese wines… 

What’s the best tip you’ve ever been given when it comes to wine/beer/etc?

When it comes to choosing wine or beer 90% of it is personal preference & taste. What I think is a ‘good’ wine the next person might think is rotten!

What’s the strangest thing you’ve been asked/asked for?

On more than one occasion I have been handed a bottle of wine by a customer in the shop and been asked if it is red wine or white wine! 

Position

Darren: assistant manager & whiskey enthusiast

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

Originally from Monaghan & living in Kilkenny since 2010. My background is in hotel management having worked in various hotels & restaurants both here in Ireland & in Florida.

How did you come to be in The Wine Centre?

I have a keen interest in the sales & marketing side of things & the opportunity to move away from operations came up at The Wine Centre, while keeping my connection to the hospitality sector. 

What is your favourite wine or beer and why?

My go-to beers are generally dark beers, specifically German beer such Dunkel which tend to have a great balance between malt & hops. German beer always stands out for me in terms of quality!

What is your favourite wine region/country and why?

Marlborough in New Zealand, specifically a Sauvignon Blanc as this was one of the first wines I can remember tasting & is still one of my favourites. 

What’s the best tip you’ve ever been given when it comes to wine/beer/etc?

There is so much variety & difference between wine styles you aren’t going to like them all, but if you keep trying you will come across a few you like eventually!

What’s the strangest thing you’ve been asked/asked for?

We stock over 350 different beers in-store & on a regular basis customers will ask if we sell beer – whilst standing next to the beer fridges! 

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