Meet the Team

We’ve been bringing our love for great wine and great service to Irish wine lovers since 2008. In addition to supplying customers from our warehouse shop in Cork, we deliver to thousands of online customers nationally, have proudly supplied the wine to hundreds of weddings, and service a growing commercial client base of bars, restaurants and hotels across Ireland.

Clare Butcher

A Riesling, full of surprises and capable of exceptional breadth of expression

ClareOriginally from Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, Clare is basically a wine psychiatrist. Customers come in. Clare puts them at ease and talks freely with them, diagnoses their needs, and sends them on their way with exactly the prescription they need. When they return, they are a little crestfallen if she isn’t in and they have to make do with one of the rest of us. Because we’re not Clare. Everyone loves Clare. Frankly, it’s getting a bit tiring.

Clare has decades of food and drink experience, having run her own cheffing and catering business for many years. It turned her into a wine version of Steve Jobs. You might not know what you want, but Clare does.

If the warehouse has a beating heart, it’s probably Clare.

Current Curious Crush: Viña von Siebenthal ‘Carabantes’ Syrah. “It’s superb for the price and it has so much story behind it.

Wine to avoid: Non-alcoholic wine. What is the point?

Tripe and drisheen wine pairing: I wouldn’t waste a wine.

Eddie Caires

A powerful Shiraz to be enjoyed in good company

Part elite athlete, part wine aficionado and all Brazilian, Eddie is a blend that shouldn’t work, but somehow does. He’s a national champion bodybuilder (let that sink in), so at times his passion for wine has to be dialled right down to zero. Not a drop is allowed to pass his lips. Just as well he’s not surrounded by the stuff every day, then. That would be awful.

A trained chef, Eddie joined us a Covid orphan when the restaurant he was working at closed during the pandemic. We were thinking of buying a forklift, but Eddie is far more fun to have about the place.

Despite his culinary prowess, Eddie is a self-confessed mass murderer of wine. He estimates he killed off over 360 bottles of wine during a spell in Italy. He’d open a bottle for a glass of wine at lunchtime and then set the bottle aside. Every evening, he’d pour himself another glass, only to find the wine had spoiled. Only after working with Curious did he learn that leaving a bottle of opened wine in the baking Italian sun does the wine no good at all. He hasn’t murdered a bottle since.

Current Curious Crush: Schola Sarmenti ‘Viginti’. “I find this a very well-balanced wine. Oaky, fruity and good acidity, but in harmony. Full-flavoured, rich and tasty. It brings me to a place of warmth and love. I have wonderful family memories associated with this wine.”

Wine to avoid: Don’t drink wine you don’t like.

Tripe and drisheen wine pairing: An orange wine like L’Orange du Moulin Natural Orange Wine. A white wine that is made like red wine, so the skins are left on, giving it an orange colour.

Sharon Murray

A Chardonnay, adaptable and thrives in many situations

Sharon MurraySharon is the only one at Curious who actually understands the chemistry of wine. She has a degree in pharmaceutical chemistry. Everyone else just pretends, because we all read an article in Decanter once.

After a blink-and-you’d-miss it spell with Big Pharma, Sharon decided that pharmaceutical chemistry wasn’t half as interesting as food and wine chemistry. Chardonnay especially. (No, don’t even think of calling her Chardonnay Sharon. One of the warehouse staff did once and we still haven’t found him.)

A spell in food and beverage management followed, capped off by a postgraduate degree in food marketing. Specifically, she wanted to know whether the hype around the medicinal benefits of food stack up? We say, “Yes, in the case of wine,” and Hippocrates backs us up on this, so there. (He invented modern medicine.)

A scientist chemist wine lover is exactly the kind of person every wine merchant should have, but doesn’t. Therefore Sharon makes us much better than everyone else.

Current Curious crush: Diez Siglos Barrel Fermented Verdejo. “It’s very special. The grapes have to be high quality and it’s quite rare. It’s only made every second or third year. It spends eight months in a barrel, so it’s quite oaky.”

Wine to avoid: I don’t agree with this question whatsoever.

Tripe and drisheen wine pairing: A crisp, zesty Sauvignon Blanc to cut through the tripe or a robust Malbec. Or a Chardonnay.

Pete Vickers

An easy-going Riesling who will befriend you instantly

Pete loves wine, but isn’t a wine nerd. He’s far too down to Earth for that. He’s a Kiwi, after all. Besides, as one of our sales people, he’s in the business of making others feel comfortable around him. Want to have a conversation about wine you can actually follow? Pete’s your man.

Pete was dropped into the wine business at the deep end. His first job out of university was running a restaurant. Day 1: write the wine list. Day 2 onwards: learn about wine.

He bounced around New Zealand and Australia’s hospitality sectors before landing a wine job in Ireland. He joined Curious when one of our customers asked him whether he was happy in the job he had at the time. He wasn’t. Introductions were made, yada yada, now he’s ours.

Current Curious Crush: Anything from Smith & Sheth or Pyramid Valley. Both aren’t typical New Zealand wines. Their Chardonnay and Pinot Noirs are more in the Burgundy style. And tantalising value.

Wine to avoid: Retsina, Greek pine wine. Worst thing I’ve ever drunk in my life. Nothing against the Greeks. Lovely people. They say you can get good retsina. I won’t be chasing it down.

Tripe and drisheen wine pairing: A wine I can drink on its own. A decent Riesling or Pinot.

Damian Murphy

A well-aged Merlot you’ll remember

Damian spent lots of time in pubs as a small boy … Hang on… *checking notes* … No, all good, his family ran a couple of pubs up in Bray and Dún Laoghaire. In fact, it wasn’t until he was 30 that he escaped the family business. He joined the Wine Centre in Kilkenny as manager—and did his first wine course that same day.

It was during a spell working in Melbourne that Damian really got into wine. Australia will do that to you. On his return to Ireland, he became a wine rep with several of our competitors until he saw sense and joined us.

As a tip-top salesman, Damian is naturally outgoing and will make anyone feel special. Except that one winemaker from Chile who he chauffeured from Dublin airport to a luxury hotel where he (the winemaker, not Damian) was the guest of honour at a wine dinner. Who better to introduce the honoured guest to the 80 attendees? Turns out, anyone other than Damian, who couldn’t recall the man’s name. Mind you, Carlos Carlos is a very hard name to remember.

Current Curious Crush: Los Corrales de Moncalvillo Maturana Tinta de Navarrete. “It’s a bit different and made from a grape that was thought to be lost. It’s so big, rich and black fruity. It ticks all the boxes for me.”

Wine to avoid: Buckfast Tonic Wine. Stay away. Just. Stay. Away.

Tripe and drisheen wine pairing: Buckfast Tonic Wine.

Peter McCabe

An effortlessly amenable Champagne with surprising notes

Peter McCabePeter insists on only working for the most prestigious employers. His first job out of catering school was at Ashford Castle. He was also a wine steward on board QE2—which was an oceangoing liner not a cruise ship, don’t ever say it was a cruise ship, very stern words will be spoken if you do.

Most people would see either of these employers as the pinnacle of their career, but most people have never worked for us. Peter does now, so he’s reached the summit.

On his way up, Peter served wine to important people, including former Taoiseach Charlie Haughey. Although, on that occasion, Peter forgot to take the cork out of the bottle. Haughey, possibly thinking he was being shortchanged, and himself a keen observer (though not practitioner) of honesty and rules, felt compelled to speak up quite sarcastically. Peter never voted for him after that.

Current Curious crush: L’Orange du Moulin Natural Orange Wine 2019. “Don’t tell Mike this, but when I joined the company, I made it very clear I have no time for any ‘natural’ wines, and certainly not orange wine. He told me to taste the biodynamic orange wine by du Moulin. I haven’t tasted anything to top it since. I hate to tell him he was right, so I won’t.”

Wine to avoid: The same bottle of wine you drink all the time. There’s so much more out there.

Tripe and drisheen wine pairing: I’d pair something I’m not going to eat with something I’m not going to drink, so elderflower wine from the middle aisle in a supermarket.

Michael Kane

Chief Taster/Glass Washer/Floor Sweeper/Not a Lot Else

Not a lot of people know this, but Mike’s greatest achievement was winning a gold medal with the Irish fencing team at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. He’s also a Michelin-starred chef, having worked as Executive Head Chef at Le Meurice in Paris in the late 90s. And he’s killed a dragon with his bare hands, after it attacked a small school in West Cork and bit his leg off.

We suspect much of the above is completely untrue. What we do know is that he drinks too much wine, loves 80s rock music and gets very grumpy when Liverpool lose.