Sunday, April 12, 2009

a danish vineyard

i've said before that i'm actually quite ok with global warming because it seems to have a good effect on denmark. both winters and summers have gotten warmer in the decade i've been here and that seems like a good thing. of course, we can talk again when the sea levels rise and the innocent creek that's today a 100 meters from our house is lapping at our foundation...but in the meantime, i'll enjoy.

yesterday, after our visit to møn's klint, i visited a good friend who grew up on møn. her parents still live there on a large farm and she was home for the easter holiday. on the farm, they have a vineyard, with a number of kinds of grapes from the alsace and other regions similar in climate. they grow both reds and whites. rondo and regent grapes are the reds that they grow. one of the whites was related to riesling (but i neglected to note the name of it).

the grapes were not yet showing any sign of budding out, but irene's dad wasn't worried. he said they'd be budding in the next couple of weeks and that was fine. he said it was more important that there wasn't too much rain at the end of june/beginning of july when they flower and set their grapes, because they are self-pollinating and if the rain washes that away, the crop is not as large as it should be. and even more important was a sunny, warm september, when the grapes are ripening.

i asked if they could feel the effects of global warming on their project, but he actually said no. even without global warming, møn has more days of sunshine than anywhere else in denmark. and it's also frost free for 250 days of the year. the rest of denmark has, on average, 180 frost-free days. i definitely learned something there. i knew i loved møn, but didn't realize it was because the climate was so much milder.

irene's dad has gone together with 13 other guys and formed a collective to do this winemaking project. they've bought all of the necessary equipment and have it in an old butchering room on a nearby gods (very large manor-house type farm). a few of them raise the grapes and others do their part in the various stages...sorting the grapes, squashing them (not sure that's the technical term), then the entire process surrounding letting the wines age and eventually blending them. irene's dad said with a bit of a twinkle in his eye that the collective isn't very democratic--those who contribute the most and know the most make the decisions and the others just have to live with it.

they've got big stainless steel vats which were full of reds that would be ready to blend in a few months.

they're really mostly having fun and learning as they go along. they're making very drinkable table reds, port and even sparkling wines in the spirit of champagne. the club gets together and eats a big meal once a year in knight's hall of the otherwise mostly unused little castle nearby and tries out the fruits of their labors. i'd love to be a fly on the wall for one of those evenings.

the picture from yesterday was a close-up of the wax cork in this little oak barrel of port:

we tasted a bit of port that had only been aging for 6 months. it was still pretty grape-juice-agtig. but the deep, rich port color was already there and it will no doubt be wonderful in another 6-10 years.

looking at the oak barrels, i had visions of them branching out eventually into whiskies finished in port casks, along the lines of the good ones from glenmorangie in scotland. i'll have to suggest that next time i visit. it seems like just the thing for this particular gentlemen's club.


Teri and her Stylish Adventure Cats said...

What a lovely day, a very interesting story and photos that make me wish I'd been there, too

Sandra said...

Your day was so much more interesting then mine.

Pattern and Perspective said...

How lovely. I would love to wander around a vineyard -- actually, my dad would really love it. I think he probably did (and drank lots of wine) in Italy last year with my mother.

Pattern and Perspective said...

And in Minnesota, especially here in the North, we have about 100 frost free days. It's horrible, because I'm not originally from here and I do prefer a sunny day. I don't like hot hot hot, but I like to feel warmth and no wind!

paris parfait said...

Looks a lot like France!

Gwen said...

Sabin's got quite a glint in her eye as she peruses the wine bottles. ;)

Perhaps it's a good thing the drinking age in Europe is 18, which I hear all the time from my Polish students who are quite upset that the law keeps them from alcohol here until 21 (not that it's actually keeping them from the booze, as far as I can tell ....)