Highbank Orchards: Irish Apple Wine in time for Christmas!

Celebrate Christmas with the best of Irish. Ireland is blessed with the finest artisanal and craft produce. Let’s focus on one superb story. Highbank.

Listen to ep 1 of the Podcast HERE

Highbank Orchards in Cuffesgrange Kilkenny makes a bewildering array of fabulous products – all based on their organic cider apples.

To be fair I should refer to Highbank as ‘Highbank Orchards and Distillery‘. We’ll come back to the Distillery bit later on …..

Highbank is at its heart a farm. A multiple award winning and a relatively small farm that has had an extraordinary history. Read all about it on their website Here. It is hard to believe that Hops, Blackcurrants and Christmas trees all fit into the one story, let alone the one farm.

This year Highbank released an Irish Apple Wine. While it’s obviously an organic product the manner in which it is made is quite unique. In this podcast Rod Calder Potts explains all. In particular Rod focuses on his appliance of organic techniques on the farm and what terroir means to his family.

From the apples that the Calder Potts grow they make everything from Drivers Cider to Organic Apple Jelly and on to one of the finest Apple Syrup‘s available to Treacle to Vinegars and to Highbank Proper Cider. Then there’s the still!

Here’s a photo that I took soon after Rod and Julie Calder-Potts brought their new still to life.

While organic apples are at the heart of everything produced at Highbank it’s Innovation that brings them to an altogether new level. The Apple Wine that I mentioned earlier is a fortified (20%abv) wine. It looks the part with an excellent label and bottle. It has an amazing taste. Obviously apple is it the heart of both bouquet and taste but there’s more. A lot more. Aged apple. Apple pie with structure and finesse and an expertly blended pure spirit that has itself been distilled from the orchard’s apples. Pork, Duck, Christmas pudding and dark Turkey meat will all come alive with this! Well, not really alive ….

Rod and Julie work with their daughter Ruth to make all of this magic happen. In addition to the products mentioned above others include, Organic Kilkenny Apple Gin, Pink Flamingo Gin, Organic Apple Brandey, Highbank Orchard Spirit Single Estate and an Organic Apple Vodka. As I’ve said – Impressive.

Both the Highbank story and Christmas time deserve a good run out. To that end I have split my time with the Calder Pott’s into two Podcasts. One follows the other just as everything here begins with the apple!

Now to my culinary skills. I visit the Highbank stand at the RDS every Christmas. Every year I say yes, I’m going to make something from the Highbank Orchards Recipes (well, its Ruth Calder Potts’ recipe book!). To my shame I never do! This year there is no RDS and this year I have made an attempt. Highly recommend the Highbank Granola and Christmas Flapjacks. I couldnt get the hang of the Good Sh*t Bread (probably just as well!). Next up are the Surprising Sweet Potato and Parsley Salad with Pistachio Vinaigrette and then the Roast Parsnip with Apple Treacle Dressing. All Healthy. All Good. Look up more of the Highbank Recipes HERE.


While all restaurants in Ireland were closed until recently many have now reopened. This is great news – Open Again! We should remember that many of these, including the wonderful Monty’s of Kathmandu, are family businesses. They are often small and brilliant and need our support more than ever. Keep Safe and Keep well. 

Kevin Ecock’s WinePod is brought to us with the assistance of the Santa Rita Wine Room at Monty’s of Kathmandu – an excellent place to host your next event or celebration.

Contact Shiva at 01 -6704911 or HERE at the Santa Rita Wine Room web page.