Our first shared experience of vineyards and winemaking took place in France 1997. We visited fantastic vineyards and sampled wonderful wines in Chateauneuf du Pape. We also found vineyards in Provence and around Roussillon . We found vineyards high up in the Red Mountains. We had an unforgettable meeting with the winemaker at Chateau de Mille.
As the years went by we continued our visits and purchasing of fine wines in Alsace and Brittany in France and in Croatia. The visit to Motuvun in Slovenia with a very pleasant winemaker made a powerful impression, but we never dreamt that we would one day be able to create our own vineyard and in Sweden at that! We were planning changes to our land south of our house and in Spring 2015 our seed of an idea, to start a vineyard on our land, started to grow. We had moved to Gotland in 2013 and came across local vineyards in Halls Huk and on the coast, at Ekstakusten and also near the south coast at Sudret so we realised it was feasible.
We removed the topsoil from our plot and collected 130 tons of chalk stones from our quarry to ensure a suitable microclimate for the vine plants. We chose tough green grapes Solaris that we sourced in Germany. During a rainy and cold April 2015 the 650 vine plants arrived and we planted 25 rows in a Northwest to Southeast direction. The vine plants had support from stakes and they were watered and given manure.
During the first summer we spent time pruning, removing small flowers and any small grape shoots. The second season we allowed two branches to grow on each plant supported by a simple Guyot (This is the first fruit bearing part for the vine). We also thoroughly weeded and added more manure. We are adding more vines in 2017 - we are testing blue grapes Rondo and also replacing a couple of the Solaris plants that have been attacked by rabbits.
We have also renovated the basement of our house. One of the rooms will become a winery and the old utility room will become a wine cellar. We researched good ideas for storing the bottles when we visited Bord 27, a restaurant in Gothenburg. We are soon off to join the Association of Swedish Wine at their annual general meeting in Skane and are hoping to get good tips and ideas for complementing our tools for winemaking making, and tools for pruning. The wine crusher and press are also under consideration.
We devour books on wine making and one of our best inspirations is ‘Vineyard’ by Sveneric Svensson. We are googling and collecting interesting material on winemaking, also contacting experts here in Sweden. We are lucky to have an enthusiastic winegrower with some valuable experience locally in Brisund in Gotland.
We also have contacted makers of storage vessels in Spain, Estonia and Georgia and have given great thought to the type of wine we would like to create and what method we will use for storage. We keen on natural wines and also orange wine -created by the ancient method of using clay vessels.
It's all very exciting.