The spring was late and cold, which means a later harvest and slightly less fruit. But the quality of the Swedish grapes is reported to be good.
The Swedish winegrowers are preparing for harvest. As in the rest of Europe, the summer was hot and dry (but without an extreme heatwave). However, a cold May and thus flowering means that the harvest takes place slightly later compared to last year, plus there will be a few fewer grapes.
At Kullabergs Vingård in southwestern Sweden, their harvest of PIWI is expected to begin in October.
– The cool and late flowering means that we have a slightly smaller amount of fruit this year. But the summer was hot and dry so it looks good, says winemaker K Felix G Åhrberg, who came to Kullaberg in 2017 after working abroad. He is a trained oenologist at Klosterneuburg in Austria.
Kullaberg grows six primary varieties – Solaris, Souvignier Gris, Muscaris, Donauriesling, Pinot Nova and Cabernet Noir – but also has experimental cultivation with around 20 varieties to see what works. Until now, the focus has been on the Swedish “national grape” Solaris, but K Felix G Åhrberg strongly believes in the new PIWI generation of blue varieties.
– In my opinion, Rondo and Regent give a bit of foxy flavor – it’s kind of like running Windows 95 on your computer. Pinot Nova and Cabernet Noir I like a lot, he says.
Pinot Nova (Blauer Burgunder x Malverina) is related to Pinot Noir and comes from Austria; Cabernet Noir is an offspring of Cabernet Sauvignon and was cultivated by Valentin Blatter in Switzerland in 1991.
Kullaberg is Sweden’s largest investment winery with a total of 14 hectares. The soil is mostly sand-mixed clay with one of the country’s oldest rock types, the pink-toned diabase Kullait. The location right by the sea is also favorable:
– We are surrounded by three seas, Öresund, Skälderviken and Kattegatt. This means that we have a mild climate with a long growing season.
A new circular winery built of wood will be inaugurated at the end of October.
– We have solar cells and our own water which we reuse. It’s 2.000 square meters and the capacity will be 100,000 bottles. Last year we made 32,000.
Just outside Malmö in the south you’ll find Vingården i Klagshamn, founded in 2001 and one of the pioneers in Swedish viticulture. Murat Sofrakis and Lena Jörgensen have 1.8 hectares, 80 percent Solaris.
– For our part, it was a cold spring with a late flowering at the end of June, and beginning of July. When summer came, it became dry – the plants were stressed, so now we are a little behind compared to previous years. We usually harvest in mid-September but are still waiting to get started.
Lena Jörgensen confirms the increased interest in Swedish wine.
– Absolutely. There is greater demand and we sell out. We accept pre-booked groups and this year we have been full. It’s a new category of people coming now, wine geeks with a solid interest.
• The new cellar at Kullabergs Vingård, with steel tanks from Ledinegg, Austria.
• Murat Sofrakis and Lena Jörgensen, Vingården i Klagshamn.