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Can wine be produced in Scandinavia, or not?

When reality starts getting topsy-turvy, places like Malmö, in Sweden, are now having 6 weeks of 35 degrees heat waves while the Mediterranean countries have experienced the coldest summer since many years, but some positive things seem to come out of it all. Apart from the fact that Scandinavians get a chance to even more crawl out from their shells and hibernation for a couple of months, the new innovative thing in Scandinavia seems to be wine production. Having just been back to my hometown, close to Österlen, visiting friends and family, and occasionally sipping French white wine while looking out over the sea, I decided to write this long overdue blog article.


Vineyards in the south of Sweden

Even though a sort of ‘wine developer’ such as Åkesson has existed on the market for several years, it has only been during the last 6-10 years that actual vineyards has popped up on Österlen in the south of Sweden. However, Åkesson import wine that they then repack in mostly carton boxes and redistribute on the market. All this is done in their ‘wine house’, as they call it themselves, on Österlen where they also have a hotel business in an old castle. Most of the few vineyards that have popped up grow vines developed in Germany specifically for colder climates, but on their websites these vines are not specified.

Sparkling wine

The most interesting vineyard, according to me, is Köpingsbergs Vingård. The owner Carl-Otto Ottergren, who used to go to secondary school with me, has planted Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and some other grapes on some of the fields on his father’s farm. The fields are very close to the seaside by Hammars Backar, and thus also get a bit of savoury input even though the Baltic Sea has brackish water and not as salty as in the Mediterranean. Carl-Otto could do his first real harvest two years ago and then produced the first few bottles of his own sparkling wine/spumante/Champagne last year, according to the traditional method. Otherwise, he generally has a deal with a vineyard in Bourgogne where he gets grapes and then do a part of the sparkling wine production.


Tours with a Sabrage show

For those of you who would happen to pass by the southern parts of Sweden, and would like to do a tour at Köpingbergs Vingård, I can recommend it highly. Carl-Otto has renovated a part of the old stables into a big reception room where he can also organize parties, weddings etc. He also has a part turned into wine production rooms for the traditional, or champenoise, method with for ex. wine tanks and pupitres (bottles racks). During the tour he is a good and witty guide, telling a lot of true and less true stories, and generally trying to make the visitor feel good. Then he starts the wine tasting by putting on a bit of a show with a sabrage of a Champagne bottle, making all the timid and reserved Swedes laugh a bit nervously. LOL 😉

The wines

He produces one Blanc de Blanc that he calls Cuvée Carl-Otto, which is a nice wine. Now I tasted them last year, but as I recall there was a slight lack of persistence in the aromas and mouth-feel. The other wine he produces is called Cremant de Bourgogne Cuvée Carl-Otto (45% Chardonnay and 55% Pinot Noir) which, as I recall, had more clearer fruity and toasty aromas and a bit more persistence and mouth-feel. Last year we also tasted a sip from his first own harvest, where he had done the degorgement a month before, and it was not bad for being really the first harvest put into production etc.


General comments

Now it is true that one vineyard does not build a whole market. However, as well as the trend in England lately, I find it interesting that farms or vineyards such as Köpingsbergs Vingård manage to emerge. Also, for Sweden, in a context where you cannot sell the wine directly at your farm but it has to be sold to the state monopoly first, who then put it out on the market to a price set by the monopoly, and not the wine producer.

Katarina Andersson

Seen often at wine events streaming live, Katarina is a wine writer, wine educator, social media strategist, and translator. She is the founder of WinesOfItaly LiveStream. She has been a guest at The Cellar, hosted by Richard Glover, at Wine Two Five, a podcast hosted by Stephanie Davis and Valerie Caruso, and at the Twitter chat #WiningHourChat founded by Li Valentine.

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