Yes, They Make Wine in Finland!
Updated: Dec 26, 2020
While visiting Finland last summer, I was given a couple of bottles of Finnish wine as a gift. I was curious to try them, because of course my first thought was "how can grapes grow so far north?" Well, David Cohen, the clever winemaker at AINOA Winery, is making wine from lingonberries, blueberries, cloudberries and even spruce tips. Voila! Wines of the forest! No grapes? No worries, be resourceful! And unique! Paola Guerro de Cohen is CEO at AINOA and is also gifted with an exquisitely sensitive palate, so she looks after both finances and quality control at the winery.
My favourite was HAVU, a lovely low -alcohol blush wine. Bright coral, fragrant and fruit-forward, it's crisp and bursting with flavours of lingonberries, honey and spruce tips. Vinified in stainless steel and sweetened with Finnish honey. Spruce tips complement the natural acidity. It would pair well with sushi, curries, hard cheeses, smoked trout or fruit desserts. 5% alcohol, residual sugar 120 g/l.
Not currently available in Canada, but if you're visiting Finland, you can find it at the liquor store, Alko.
AINOA award-winning wines are quickly gaining recognition across Europe and the U.S.A. Their raspberry dessert wine, Vaapukka, won Gold for Finland at the Concours Lyon 2019.
To learn more, visit their website:
Jane Staples Wine and Food Writer, Accredited Sommelier 2019