John Mc Grath caught the wine bug, when he moved to France in 1991, on completion of his Business Studies Degree.
He lived and worked there for the next 3 years, spending his free-time tasting and travelling around the vineyard areas.
Trips to the Rhone Valley, Languedoc, Bordeaux, Burgundy and The Loire gave him a serious passion and interest in good French wine and food.
His very good friend and early mentor in wine was Jean-Paul Rieu, a French Country Doctor and total gentleman who opened John’s eyes to the quality of good Cotes du Rhone, Saint Emilion and Cahors.
Jean Paul’s charming and wonderful wife Annie Rieu also played a huge role in teaching John how to speak French (an invaluable tool in dealing with the winemakers) and how to tell the difference between all the different cheeses of the local region Auvergne!
On returning to Ireland, several stone heavier and several Wine Appreciation courses later, he decided to take the plunge and change trades, moving from the Tile Business to the Wine Business. Special mention and thanks to Richard Ecock (now Principle Wine Buyer with Dunnes Stores) for all his help starting John in the Wine Trade in Ireland.
He spent several years learning the Wine Trade with some well-established and well-loved wine merchants in Dublin (O’Briens and Searsons) and also managed a successful, independent wine shop in Dublin city centre.
During this time he successfully passed the Certificate, Higher Certificate and Diploma Wine Courses from The Wine and Spirit Education Trust.
Founding Nectar Wines with his friend Carl Byrne in 2000 (they met while studying French and Business in Business College) they set about bringing some new and exciting wines, from boutique, small-batch producers, to the Irish Wine Market.
Carl Byrne hails from Glenealy, Co. Wicklow and spent his early years helping out in the Family Business, Ballyknocken Guesthouse and Cookery School. Showing a flair and interest for all things culinary from an early age (he has great scone and breadmaking skills!) he helped out for many years in the family restaurant and over time gained a great interest and love for wine.
Carl met John while studying Business in college and they became good buddies, sampling Guinness and talking football, in various hostelries around Dublin 6.
At this time they spent two years learning Business French and both gained a qualification from Le Chambre de Commerce de Paris.
On completion of his Business Studies Degree Carl spent several years in Greece and Germany travelling and tasting as he went.
On returning to Ireland his dream of developing his own business began to take shape and he teamed up with John to form Nectar Wines.
Carl then successfully passed the Certificate and Higher Certificate Wine exams with The Wine and Spirit Education Trust.
With eighteen years Wine Trade experience between them John and Carl make a formidable tasting team.