Thursday, 20 September 2012


Vineyard in Klagshamn:  On my first afternoon in Skåne I was lucky to see a sign for the small town of Klagshamn and then, almost immediately, a sign for the vineyard.  I received a friendly welcome from viticulturist Murat (Murre) Sofrakis despite the fact my arrival was unannounced and the tourism season had ended.  He explained the basics of the terroir (the chalky soil with high pH levels, the cool summers and temperate winter tempatures) that led to the choice of grape varietals commonly planted in the province. Solaris, a hybrid grape varietal developed in Germany and recognized for its resistance to disease, early ripening, and high yield even in poor climatic conditions, is one of the most widely cultivated varietals in the region.

The Klagshamn vineyard does not have its own winery but collaborates with Ahus winery to produce the Interkardinal wines.

Interkardinal Solaris Kaxig 2010:  Murat generously offered me a bottle of the 2010 Solaris wine to take with me on my travels.  I chilled it at my hotel in Trelleborg, the southernmost town in Sweden.  

Tasting notes: I found the wine very enjoyable to drink on its own or with cheese.  The aromas of citrus, flint, melon, and honey were reminscent of a Riesling but the acidity was pleasantly lower and the flavours of green apple and lemon cleansed the palate.  I also perceived a hint of black pepper or allspice on the finish, which complemented the cheese very nicely.   It would be a wonderful pairing with fish.

Vingarden i Klagshamn is operated by Lena Jorgensen and Murat Sofrakis, seen here with their fuzzy friends!


Saturday, 15 September 2012


Skane:  Diligent internet research helped me discover that Sweden indeed produced wine in the southern province of Skane (pronounced something like Skoner, the "a" having one small circle over it when written properly in Swedish!). After taking my first two courses in the sommelier programme at Algonquin College in the winter of 2012 I decided to visit wineries in the countries I travelled to for work.  I believe I first learned there were vineyards in Sweden after randomly thinking Oland would be an interesting island to visit (still on my wish list!).  I have now learned that one of, or the largest, vineyard in the country is on the island of Oland but it is not yet producing its own wine.  Further internet research led me to two sites that helped me find the wineries I wanted to visit: Skane - Sweden's Wine Country and  Wine Routes in Skane

After searching for the vineyards' websites to find contact information(most are only in Swedish), I sent emails to four or five.  I had only one confirmation of availability to meet me but I decided to go ahead with my rather ad hoc wine tour.  I'm so glad I did because I received a friendly welcome at each vineyard.

Vineyard Visits:  I stayed in the most southern region of the province, along the Baltic coast. Although July and August are the best months to visit the vineyards, I was able to visit four wineries in two days (despite the fact I did not have directions to three of the four and I was not in any rush to visit as many as possible).  I visited:  Fladie Mat & Vingard, Vingarden i Klagshamn, Hallakra Vingard and Doman Sanana.  The first two vineyards I found quite by chance as I drove from the Malmo airport, through Lund, toward the small towns of Fladie and then south to Klagshamn during the afternoon of my first day in Skane.  I was lucky to pass by prominent signs at both places that pointed me in the direction of the vineyards. After spending the night in Trelleborg, the next day I visited  Hallakra Vineyard, in North Gronby, having made an appointment in advance with the owner, and then I found Domana Sanana after asking for directions in the town of Skillinge on the south east coast.  These latter two vineyards also produce their own wine.  
I'll write separate blogs about three of the vineyards (the owner of Fladie Mat & Vingard was not there but the chef at the conference centre and restaurant welcomed me to walk around the beautiful grounds).

Today, on my third day I considered driving to Arild, about 1 to 1.5 hours north of the city of Malmo, but decided I needed to stretch my legs and discover this port city on foot.  Arilds Vingard of Annette and Jonas Ivarsson was suggested as a good choice to visit by Murat Sofrakis of Vingarden i Klagshamn and I have since found interesting tasting notes on their wine.  But I will wait for another opportunity to visit them.

Skane, an Emerging Wine Region:  Once Sweden became a member of the European Union in 1995, changes to the Swedish monopolies on alcohol production and sales were negotiated.   See an interesting paper by Paulina Rytkonen on the emergence of wine in the province of Skane, traditionally an agricultural area. The temperate climate, soil and other characteristics of the terroir make Skane ideal for certain grape varietals common grown in Germany and Denmark. Grape cultivation and wineries emerged at the end of the 1990s, 1998 or 1999, when the first vineyards were planted. Wine-making commenced a few years later as the vines began to yield adequate grapes. 

Travel Tips:  It is best to visit in July or August. Some of the wineries I had hoped to visit, such as Ahus Vingard on the eastern coast, were not open.  After the busy summer tourist season the vineyard owners may take advantage of the quieter month of September to take their own vacation before the grapes are harvested in October.