April 2016 came out again this week and our cover features a balloon with Carmen all over it. No, not the opera and no, not a birthday party.

Carmen winery has used ‘Balloon’ and Discovery’ together for some time now. A couple of years ago the team that runs all the Santa Rita Group wines in Ireland (Santa Rita, Carmen, Dona Paula and Nativa) dreamt up the idea of hoisting their own balloon!!

Hole in One?

We were invited up to Carton House in Maynooth to take a flight. To be honest I don’t think a flight was ever on the cards so much as the visual impact was meant to be. (Marketing can be great fun!) As it happens the balloon never took off. It was too windy – (isn’t it always too windy for balloons in Ireland?) Still, the Discovery aspect was brilliant. We all hopped into the basket and listened to the ‘whoooof’ of the gas jets, felt their heat and watched the balloon’s envelope fill with hot air. In a way I imagined what the voyage might have been like.

All fired up

The photos were great! As was the lecture afterwards. It was the first time that I met Sebastian Labbé, head winemaker at Carmen, and I was very impressed. See. Years later the balloon flight has finally taken off for me!


It’s a great cover, great wine and a really interesting wine maker.


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