There are crazy wine projects. Actually, a lot of projects in the wine industry are more or less crazy. It is a business that it is very hard to survive in and it is even harder to make good money.
Then there are really, really, really crazy wine projects.
Harvesting grapes in Tuscany, putting them on a lorry and driving them up 2000 kilometres to Sweden, and then make wine from them in Sweden, that would qualify for the really, really, really crazy category. That would be certain not to have any business logic to it.
But then you should know that this project is real and it has been launched by Takis Soldatis. Although of Greek origin he is one of Sweden’s most successful wine entrepreneurs. He has founded and still runs the wine importer Oenoforos, with more than $100 million in sales at the Swedish monopoly.
So maybe it is not so crazy after all.
Read more on this in Per’s article on Forbes: The Crazy Swedish Wine Project, The Greek, The German, And The Italian.
You can also read about the vinification that was done in Sweden, in Simrishamn: Making wine in Sweden from Italian grapes, another curious project from Oenofors.
Here’s the introduction:
“An Italian, a German and a Greek sit in a wine bar and have tasted a few bottles. And one more glass of wine goes down. ‘Let’s do something crazy,’ says the Greek. ‘Let’s go to Tuscany and harvest some syrah grapes, put them on a truck, drive them 1200 miles to the north, to Sweden (!), and make Italian wine by the Baltic Sea’.”
It probably didn’t really happen quite like that, but it could perhaps have happened. But the truth is not very far away from wine bar the story.
Takis Soldatos, the Greek, lives in Sweden and has created one of Sweden’s most successful wine importing companies, Oenoforos, with over $100 million in sales at the monopoly.
The Italian is Mario Calzolari, a wine consultant based in Tuscany and very knowledgeable about the vineyards and wine regions in Italy.
The German is Gerd Stepp, a winemaker based in the UK consulting for large wine retailers as well as for wine producers, among others for Takis Soldatos.
Read all of Per’s article on BKWine on Forbes.
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Three video interviews on the project:
Takis Soldatos, the founder of Oenoforos, one of Sweden’s biggest importers, is running a project where he makes wine in his winery in Sweden from syrah grapes harvested in Tuscany. The grapes are picked in a vineyard near Cortona in Tuscany and then shipped by truck to the Nordic Sea Winery in Simrishamn in Sweden. The fermentation and winemaking is done in Skåne, Sweden. The result will be release in a few years from now and will be sold at auction. The profit will be donated to a charity. 2016 is the first harvest this is done. Takis Soldatos plan to do the same experiment in other wine regions in future years.
Oenoforos, one of the biggest Swedish wine importers, is running a project on making wine in Sweden from syrah grapes harvested in Tuscany near Cortona. Gert Stepp, a consultant and winemaker, is the person in charge of the harvest and the vinification. He explains about the grapes, the climate and the soil standing among the syrah vines. He also talks about how the grape bunches will be loaded on a truck and transported to the Nordic Sea Winery in Simrishamn. There he will do the vinification, starting with destemming and crushing of the grapes. The wine will be vinified in open-top oak vats and in 500 litre terracotta jars (“amphora”). Eventually the wine will be bottled and sold at auction.
Mario Calzolari is a wine consultant working for Oenoforos, one of Sweden’s biggest wine importers. He has been closely involved in a project run by Takis Soldatos, the founder of Oenoforos, to make wine in Sweden from grapes harvested in Tuscany, in the Cortana area. Mario Calzolari talks about the region where the syrah grapes are grown, about its history, the climate and why this area was chosen as the source for the project to make Tuscan wine at the Nordic Sea Winery on the Baltic Sea in Sweden.