Winemaking in Scandinavia

Rows of Scandinavian vines


Scandinavia is a part of Europe where viticulture is relatively new. It is in its southernmost parts, Denmark and southern Sweden, that the climate allows viticulture and with few exceptions that is where the new wine regions have emerged.

Sweden is, despite its very cool climate in this context, an official wine country since 1999. Twenty years later things have started to move significantly, several different grape varieties are grown and Sweden has with Solaris got its "own" grape.

What is Swedish wine?
The definition applies to wine made from grapes grown in Sweden. Wines from Swedish "urban wineries", where the grapes are imported to be vinified here, have a different origin. Generally the grapes come from different EU countries and they are then originally classified as "EU". The wines we offer at Nordic Vineyards are all grown in Sweden / the Nordic countries unless otherwise explicitly stated.

White wines dominate
Since the Swedish climate is cool, with less intense sunshine than in most traditional wine regions, it is the green grapes that ripen most easily. The variety that has come to dominate in Sweden is Solaris, which is appreciated for its versatility and high fruit acid. However, other varieties are grown as well and new types of white wines are constantly developed.

Sparkling wine from Sweden is increasing

The production of sparkling wine is steadily increasing and even here Solaris is often used. As a rule, the wines get their bubbles through a second fermentation according to the traditional method, the so-called Champagne method, as it is considered to give the highest quality and is also easier to use in small scale production. Often, the winemaker's goal is to preserve the freshness of the wine. Therefore, many wines are to be consumed after only six to ten months of storage. However, an increasing number of Scandinavian sparkling wines mature well and are very well suited for storage.

Swedish rose wine and red wine
When it comes to rosé wine and red wine, the grape used is generally Rondo, sometimes together with Cabernet cortis, but other grape varieties also occur. 

Manual harvest and low withdrawals
Most vineyards in Sweden harvest manually, which can be explained by the fact that most properties are small and that the yield is generally low. Most growers set the standard for one bottle per vine, which corresponds to the grand cru level in France.

Grape varieties used in Sweden
All grape varieties that are approved for wine production within the EU may be used in Sweden, but most of them need a higher temperature and more hours of sunshine than Sweden can offer. Names like Solaris, Rondo, Cabernet Cortis, Muscaris and Souvignier Gris may not be as familiar as many other grape varieties we see on southern Europe's wine labels, but they are the ones that work best here. They are examples of the disease-resistant varieties, which are internationally known as PIWI grape varieties. Read more about Our grapes

What are PIWI grapes?
PIWI is an abbreviation of the German Pilzwiderstandsfähige Rebsorten, German for "fungus-resistant grape varieties". As the EU only allows Vitis vinifera in quality wines, these grape varieties were classified as a subspecies of Vitis vinifera, (sativa) to get around bureaucratic obstacles to hybrid grapes.

Common to PIWI grape varieties is that they are resistant to diseases in general and fungal diseases in particular, and therefore do not need the same level of treatment as ordinary grapes. Ordinary vitis viniferera grapes may need to be treated with pesticides about 15 times a year, while PIWI can do without them for good years. During a worse year, two or at most three treatments are required. Some producers use foliar fertilizer instead. It is a more sustainable, cheaper and less labor-intensive method that results in less soil pollution.

Climate and soil
Sweden's vineyards cover a total of 100 to 150 hectares. Most farms are small, between one and ten hectares. Commercial viticulture occurs as far north as the Mälardalen valley, but most farms are located along the coasts of southernmost Sweden, as well as on the islands of Öland and Gotland. Most cultivations are located just north of the 55th parallel in Skåne. Read more about wine regions in Sweden.