Swedish Press N Y A
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July/August 2018 Vol 89:06 $5.95
FROM VIKINGS AND VINDRAGARE TO
WINE GROWING SWEDES
Swedish Vineyards Interview with SACC-NY President Svenskt Tenn
An Interview with Vingården i Klagshamn By Lara Andersson
ena Jörgensen and Murat “Murre” Sofrakis of Vingården i Klagshamn (the Vineyard in Klagshamn) are wine lovers, through and through. As such, they had often considered moving abroad to test the waters of vintnery in USA or Spain, but when
Above: “Murre” Sofrakis of Vingården i Klagshamn. Right: Vingården i Klagshamn.
Sweden officially became a wine country by EU regulation in 1999, the pair decided to stay put and start their own vineyard at home, in the small neighborhood of Klagshamn south of Malmö. While many might consider winegrowing in the north an exotic propo-
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sition, Lena and Murre explain that Southern Sweden, Gotland, Öland and several areas along the coastline, and even inland, provide hospitable terroir for planting and cultivating grapes. “Our climate with its relatively cool summers and long days gives perfect conditions for ripening grapes,” they say. “The slow maturation process makes the aromas develop slowly, and the balance between sugar and acid is kept in perfect harmony. The freshness of our wines is pretty unique. Even if our wines contain 15 percent alcohol (and sometimes 16 percent), they still have a refreshing acidity.” Their goal when it comes to wine production is not to replicate wines elsewhere, but to make the best wines possible, given the Swedish soil and climate. Still, “inspiration is mostly found in other European wine countries, and the relatively short distance to France and Germany makes it a natural inspiration trip,” they explain. After rigorous testing of at least a couple hundred different grape varieties, Murre and Lena decided to use 85
percent Solaris grape, and the other 15 percent a mixture of Cabernet Cortis and Rondo. Though the vineyard is not ecologically certified, the farming practices follow a mindful, ecological philosophy: Seaweed fertilizers are collected from the Malmö municipality, and horse manure as well as organic fertilizers from Klagshamn’s Equestrian Association and other local horse farms. The vineyard has not employed chemical fungicides since 2010, but – since the wine comes first – reserves the right to do so, thereby forgoing an official stamp of ecological certification. The Nordic environment doesn’t seem to present many difficulties when it comes to winegrowing and production, but the State monopoly on the sale of alcoholic beverages through Systembolaget makes it a bit challenging to market. The finished bottle can’t be passed directly from the farmer to the consumer, like in Tuscany and most other vineyards in the world, but must instead be delivered to a specific Systembolag or restaurant.
Photo © Nick Parfitt/Tourism in Skåne
“Our sales,” say Murre and Lena, “are 85 percent to Systembolaget and 10 percent to restaurants, while 5 percent is exported.” You can find a list of restaurants that stock their wine, as well as their wine selections on Vingården i Klagshamn’s webpage (see below). In addition to cultivating their own signature wines, Lena and Murre offer their expertise to other Swedes interested in starting their own vineyards. A consultation with them can cover anything from choosing the right type of grape and scouting the proper location, to deciding binding technique, vine orientation and distance, and fertilizer. Throughout the years, Vingården in Klagshamn has aided fledgling and established wineries alike, though they primarily focus on collaborating with beginners. As they state on their homepage, it is essential to establish your farm properly from
the outset, otherwise it can prove extremely difficult to grow wine in Sweden. Beyond giving sage advice, Lena and Murre are authorized by the Swedish Board of Agriculture to resell both grafted and own-rooted plants. For those seeking the equipment needed to produce wine, the duo partners with Stainless Steel Product Ltd in Slovenia and Speidel GmbH in Germany to supply equipment such as yeasting tanks, presses, bacteria cultures, and more. Vingården i Klagshamn is a small family operation (1.8 hectares) with only 4 people working. “Our low yields (3000 litres per hectare, which translates to roughly 5-6,000 bottles per year) guarantee a good concentration in the grape, which gives our wines richness in both aromas and taste.” Any labor involving their vines and grapes is carried out by hand, to further ensure that only the highest quality grapes make it into the finished product. “If you decide to put a grape in the harvesting bucket, you must be prepared to put the same grape in your mouth,” they quip on their website. Summer is the prime season for visiting Vingården i Klagshamn, but interested parties should act quickly. “We allow groups to visit us by appointment, but we are not a tourist center and therefore we only take a couple of groups a week.” This year, the vineyard will harvest earlier than expected, so it is only possible to book a visit up until week 34 (the week of August 20th.) Contact info@ vingardeniklagshamn.se, website www. vingardeniklagshamn.se.
During the last few years, Vingården i Klagshamn has awarded the distinction “Swedish Wine Ambassadors” to persons who have manifested an exceptional level of engagement in the promotion of Swedish wine. In 2017 the distinction was shared between Carina Olofsson Gavelin and Sveneric Svensson. Carina is a sommelier, Certified Educator Sud de France Master LanguedocRoussillon, advisor, and travel agent. Sveneric is a vintner and author, and is also the Chairman of the Swedish Wine Association,. The jury offered the following justifications: “Carina has for many years guided and trained members of the world’s largest wine organisation, the Munskänkarna, on the subject of Combining Food & Wine. Through her company Gravelinewine she has employed her vast knowledge to educate people in matters related to food and wine. In her capacity of travel agent, she has enabled people to discover Swedish wines by introducing them to Sweden’s biggest festival of Swedish wines, and also by arranging the Skånska Vinresor tours of vineyards in the province of Skåne. Sveneric has published the first complete Swedish handbook of wine production – the Handbok för vinmakaren. He has also founded an enterprise for wine analysis, participated in an advisory role, established a framework for judging wines, and continued in the role of Chairman of the Swedish Wine Association.” Source: www.vinvagen.se
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‘Sustainability is a passion of mine, and...’
Anna Throne-Holst, President of the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce in New York
Anna Throne-Holst has a master’s degree in public administration and international affairs. She has previously worked at the U.N. Department of Peacekeeping. In 2008 she became a member of the Southampton Town Board on Long Island. After serving as a board member for two years, she won election to the position of town supervisor. She was re-elected to the position two more times. She chose not to run for re-election as town supervisor in 2015. Instead she opted to run as a Democratic candidate for Congress but was not elected. On April 4, 2018, she took up her position as President of SACC-NY.
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Please tell us about your background and how you became interested in public service. My grandfather, Johan ThroneHolst, was a Norwegian political activist. He was also the founder of the very successful Norwegian chocolate manufacturing brand Freia, as well as the equally wellknown Swedish brand name Marabou. I was born in Norway of an American mother and a Swedish father, grew up in Sweden and have spent my adult life in America. As for my interest in public service, my parents instilled in me the notion that one has a duty to give something back to society. What prompted you to transition from being the Town Supervisor of Southampton to becoming the President of SACC-NY? Towards the end of my term as Town Supervisor, I ran for Congress. However, when the Democrats lost the 2016 presidential election, I also failed to be elected. I was approached by SACC-NY to serve as their President, so I seized the opportunity to manage and help modernize this venerable 112-yearold organization with its 13 fulltime staff and the chance to circle back to my Swedish roots. Please describe your day-to-day activities at SACC-NY. We have basically three activity
streams. The first is communications and outreach whereby we organize some 50 events every year, such as the classic Swedish holiday get togethers, like kräftskivor and Lucia festivities, but we are mostly focused on B2B networking and business development events, which make up the very large majority of our events roster, including conferences on a variety of topics ranging from innovation to sustainability. The third stream is serving as a launch pad for Swedish companies that wish to establish themselves in the United States. To assist them, as well as help connect and better serve our large corporate members, we are launching a 20,000 square foot innovation platform with desks, office and conferencing space. We also publish newsletters and maintain a website. So that gives you an idea what my working day looks like. How are Swedish businesses and business people viewed in New York? Very favourably. U.S. venture capitalists are particularly keen on Swedish start-ups because of their innovation, high quality, dedication to sustainability, and gender equality. It also helps that Swedish companies tend to be undervalued compared to their American equivalents, which makes them attractive for
Putting Sweden on the Map Abroad
‘.... I am committed to the green agenda.’
investment. There is no doubt that their predecessors, the large well known and established Swedish corporations like Sandvik, Volvo, Ericson, etc have paved the way! How are the regional chambers of SACC-USA financed? Mainly through membership, sponsorship, and event fees. The SACC-USA Trainee Program provides U.S. companies with interns and trainees from Sweden. Does the program also work the other way around (from the U.S. to Sweden), and is SACC-NY actively involved? The answer is yes. SACC-NY currently has three Swedish students in scholarship programs here in New York, as well as an equal number of apprentices. We also support a program sending US students to apprentice in Sweden. On June 1 the White House implemented the dreaded tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the E.U. This will presumably upset Swedish industry, particularly in the steel sector. Will it also have an effect on the work of SACC-NY? It already has, in the sense that we receive many queries on the tariffs and their consequences for Swedish
-American trade. I personally have always been a strong advocate of open and free trade, and write and speak on the subject frequently. By implementing the tariffs, the U.S. Administration is demonstrating a great deal of ignorance about the benefits of free trade. It also remains to be seen what of this will in fact “stick” and not get reversed. How does SACC-NY coordinate and collaborate with the other SACC regional chambers in the United States? With the launch of our Gateway platform we will be offering them free access to our facilities and all the related events at no charge. In our newsletter we pass on information that the other chambers wish to disseminate through our network, and we also refer start-up companies to them if the nature of their business seems better suited in their regions, rather than New York. But there is more to do in the way of creating synergy among the regional chambers. Does SACC-NY cooperate with other Swedish organizations active in North America? Emphatically yes! We are very active in Team Sweden USA, which is a network of government authorities, agencies and companies that all work to promote Swedish exports abroad.
According to a newspaper article, you are “carbon-footprint conscientious.” Tell us about your preoccupation with global warming, green energy and related ecological issues. This is a passion of mine, and I am committed to the green agenda. For example, as Town Supervisor I was the chief instigator behind Southampton’s bold “green code” legislation for new buildings and pools. I also saw to it that our Town became the first to ban plastic shopping bags and also founded The NYS Clean Water Technology incubator at SUNY. I think it is important to help Americans understand that pursuing a green agenda can also be profitable expressed in dollars and cents, and is therefore good for business. Sweden and Swedish businesses are a great showcase for that! How old are your children? Are they fluent in Norwegian or Swedish, in addition to English? My sons are 24, 29 and 31 years old, and my foster child is 29. The boys all speak Swedish and English. Do you maintain ties with Sweden? Absolutely! My frequent travels to Sweden on business give me a welcome opportunity to keep in close contact with my siblings and old friends. Interviewed by Peter Berlin
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The Winery Hotel is the first of its kind in Sweden
By Kristi Robinson
n unassuming building lot, vacant for 20 years, in Solna on the outskirts of Stockholm provided the perfect location for designer and owner Jan Söder to conceive and construct his dream of Sweden’s first wine hotel. The Winery Hotel opened in early 2016 and has been embraced by local and international wine enthusiasts. Swedish Press had the pleasure of chatting with Jan who shared that, out of all the projects he has worked on, this one just felt truly right.
Front desk at The Winery Hotel with a view into the hotel’s wine factory.
As lead designer at interior design firm Redbarn, and owner of the Nordic Light Hotel as well as the renowned Icebar in Stockholm, Jan was in the unique position to follow his intuition and really see his vision for The Winery Hotel through. From the beginning he had a strong sense that the hotel should function as an urban winery and was able to create an aesthetic in line with that. Motivated by his trips to New York, he found
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The rooftop patio overlooks Brunnsviken and Haga Park. Photo © TWH & Jan Malmström.
inspiration in the brick façades and interiors of the wineries, breweries, and bars, and also in Brooklyn’s 100-year-old factory converted to a boutique hotel, the Whythe Hotel, with its floor-to-ceiling windows. Jan took this industrial aesthetic and fused it with a pure Scandinavian style to create what he calls ‘industrial elegance’. From the moment you walk into the spacious lobby – which also serves as a lounge and wine bar – to the front desk sitting in front of oak barrels visible through a glass wall, it is evident that you are in the heart of a winery. In fact the Winery Hotel is the only hotel in the world with a winery inside the lobby. In the entrance the walls are 8 meters high and meet the exposed ceiling, where beams and pipes are painted a warm dark gray. The floor is made of solid concrete that may crack a little over time, but Jan admits this is what he wants; he feels it all adds to the character of the hotel. The elegant industrial ambiance permeates the hotel through all its 184 rooms. Concrete is visible in the ceiling. Steel, stone, wood, and leather can be found in elements of each room. The robustness of these materials is complemented by the warm grape green colour of the accent wall, a
reflection of the Terreno vineyard in Tuscany that is also owned by The Winery Hotel, and from where the inspiration and knowledge of winemaking derives. The hotel makes 8,000 bottles of “The Winery Red’’ on site each year from Sangiovese with a dash of Cab ernet Sauvignon. They also produce 900 bottles of rosé that Jan says may not last the summer months because of its popularity on the year-round rooftop patio – another design highlight of the hotel with a heated pool, sun loungers, and a panoramic view. If you enjoy wine and are near Stockholm, a visit to The Winery Hotel is a must. http://www.thewineryhotel.se/
The rooms feature a combination of industrial modern and warm & cozy. All Photos © The Winery Hotel (TWH) & Jason Strong, unless otherwise noted.
A Swedish Winemaker on the World Stage By Göran Amnegård Blaxsta Vineyard is a small, romantic vineyard facing south along the shores of Lake Långhalsen at the heart of the idyllic province of Södermanland. This 7-acre domain is situated among ancient rune stones and Viking graves. The facility offers visitors various activities, including guided tours, wine-tasting, cooking classes, hunting, fishing and golf. The Hotel Kung Blacke has facilities for conferences, weddings and various celebrations. Göran Amnegård, the owner and operator of the vineyard, gives us an insight into his wine-making business in the following.
attracts over 14,000 wines from more than 50 countries. As a member of the jury at the World Champagne and Sparkling Wine Challenge, I am quite familiar with the competition. Our wine is completely natural, which means that we use no sulphite, bisphenol, myriac acid, gelatine, flavours, colours, etc., and all filtering is also natural. This is the new trend in the wine industry. Note that the Systembolaget has no natural wines available. Also, all our wines are cold fermented, a process that requires 5 – 6 months of fermentation. It matures in steel tanks in 12 – 24 months depending on the vintage and
s a former Assistant Trade Commissioner to Canada way back in the 1980s, and as a friend of the then Swedish Press Editor-in-Chief Anders Neumuller, I helped him with information, text, suggestions for articles, new Swedish ventures for advertising, etc., over a four – five year period. So I know Swedish Press very well! As of the summer of 2000, we are the first Swedish winery in modern time and the only producer of Vitis Vinifera, the best vines for the Swedish climate. The other growers cultivate a variety called Vitis Labrusca that have a Russian genetic background. We grow Merlot, Chardonnay and Vidal Blanc, the latter being made into ice wine. We are the only producer in Sweden who competes in the Wine World Challenge, and are the first ever Swedish winery to earn gold medals there (gold 2010, 2011 and 2012, silver 2016, and bronze 2007). The Wine World Challenge
Ingredients: • 1 cup Durum flour • 8 eggs • 1 lobster • 4 tbsp Philadelphia cream cheese • 1 tbsp finely chopped spinach • Pinch of salt • A few drops of lemon juice • ½ cup cream • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
Göran Amnegård. Photos © Blaxsta vingård.
grape variety. We also make ice wine from rose hips and Åkerö apples, as well as a 100% wild raspberry dessert wine. As for grapes, we grow Merlot (see Merlot Prestige Vintage), Chardonnay (see Chardonnay Barrique Grande) and Vidal (see Vidal Ice Wine Vintage Reserve). Over 80 % of our wine is exported. The most recent shipment was to a wine collector in Toronto. We also sell to the UK, Brazil, Hong Kong, Holland and Germany on a regular basis. We would like to make our wine available to Swedes/Scandinavians in North America. Call me on +46 70 48 34 690, or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Preparation: 1) Pasta dough: Mix the flour and four egg yolks and blend to a smooth dough. Cover in plastic wrap and put in fridge for minimum 5 hours. 2) Lobster filling: Blanch the lobster in boiling water for 3 minutes. Take 175-200 gram of the partly raw lobster meat. In a mixer add 1 tbsp of cream cheese, finely chopped spinach, pinch of salt, drops of lemon juice. Mix all into a smooth blend. Put mixture in a piping bag. 3) Parmesan sauce: Mix cream, 3 tbsp cream cheese and grated parmesan. Heat and stir until melted. 4) Assemble. Separate four egg yolks without breaking the yolk. Set aside. With a pasta machine (or rolling pin) make pasta dough into ultra-thin sheet and cut out four circles 10 cm diameter. Make another four circles of 12 cm in diameter. About 1 cm from edge of smaller circles, pipe lobster mix. Put one egg yolk gently in the center. Take larger pasta circle and cover. Use a fork to seal the edge around. Do the remaining three ravioli the same way. 5) Put the ravioli in a large pot with simmering water for between 1 minute 45 seconds and 2 minutes depending on size of egg yolk. Don’t boil the water! 6) Keep sauce warm and put 1 spoon of sauce on the bottom of the plate. Put the ravioli on top and cover with an extra spoon of sauce. Garnish with herb or edible flower. Serves 4 persons.
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Swedish Press is the world’s leading magazine on all good things Swedish. An authority on design, business, culture and travel since 1929, S...
Published on Jun 25, 2018
Swedish Press is the world’s leading magazine on all good things Swedish. An authority on design, business, culture and travel since 1929, S...