Some people seek out challenges and see only opportunities. You can count Scandinavian grape growers among their numbers. Grapes have never been a natural crop in Nordic climates, but thanks to hardier varieties, advances in technology, and a burgeoning interest and enthusiasm, more and more vineyards are springing up on northern shores. This is a young industry and there are a lot of things to get right. The grapes that grow in Scandinavia have a shorter growing season and the wines often have an acidic taste. They also have a more straight-laced image when compared to wines from traditional wine-making countries, where heat and sunshine are in abundance. Of course, it is hard to compete on price, given the huge start-up costs, limited production, challenging climate, and labor-intensive nature of the work. Scandinavian wines will never be able to compete in terms of quantity and price, but they do add a different dimension to the industry, as well as offering a new experience.
Denmark was the first Scandinavian country to start producing wine, and there are now a slew of established vineyardsspread across the country. Here you can buy wine direct from the vineyard.
Ørnberg Vin, Sjaelland
Named Vineyard of the Year 2014 by industry body Danske Vingaarde. Specializes mainly in white wine, but also produces sparkling wine and the much-talked-about dessert wine Mynster. Has its own wine shop.
Annisse Vingård, Sjaelland
This vineyard can be found on the Nordsjaelland “wine trail”. Also sells wine from other Danish producers. Has its own wine shop.
Vinhuset Kvist & Vitus, Östjylland
Produces sparkling wine, still wine, apple wine, and spirits. Bar and shop. Special events can be arranged.
In Sweden it is illegal to sell wine at vineyards, but many have restaurants where you can try the wines and then order them from the Systembolaget (government-run liquor store).
Ästad Vingård, Halland
Brand new and making huge strides with the help of award-winning Swedish winemaker Lars Torstenson. The vineyard’s first wine is expected to be bottled in 2015. Restaurant and hotel.
Gute Vingård, Gotland
The grapes here are grown at Näsudden, in southeast Gotland, and turned into white, red, and rosé wines, as well as fortified wine and spirits. Vineyard shop, wine bar, and overnight accommodation available.
Vingården i Klagshamn, Skåne
A veteran of Swedish wine-making. Some of its wines have had temporary listings at the Systembolaget. Welcomes pre-booked visitors between May 15 and August 29.
Norway is not exactly teeming with vineyards, but there are still some to be found. As in Sweden, it is not possible to buy wine directly from the vineyard.
Two hours out of Oslo is this vineyard producing wines made from grapes and some made from fruits and berries. Restaurant and overnight accommodation available.
Kvelland Vineyard, Vest-Agder
This establishment has been making wine, both red and white, in southern Norway since 1999. You can sample them in the vineyard’s wine bar.
Text: Gunilla Hultgren Karell
Published: March 17, 2015