September 21, 2017

Northern Finland Produces First Wine Grapes

A Norwegian news report today announced the  first wine grapes have ripened and were harvested at a research facility in Pasvik in Finnmark, Norway,  which is approximately 70 degrees north latitude.

To give you an idea of how far north this is, the research station is located at approximately the same latitude as the north coast of Alaska and the Norwegian-Russian border is located to the south.

According to Nilles Gaute Vol in Drammen, Norway, this summer in Northern Norway has had record warmth. The nearby Vardø weather station, with an unbroken temperature series from 1840, registerd the warmest summer on record, Gaute Vol said.


For those of you that cannot read Norwegian,  Gaute Vol’s rough translation of the article is:

Bright Summer Gave Grape Harvest in Finnmark

In Pasvik scientists have cultivated what probably is Finnmark’s first outdoor -grown grapes

Vines which were set outside the research station Bioforsk on Svanhovd in Pasvik last year, has surprised scientists by carrying fruit.

The 24 grape plants were planted last summer at three different locations , in the sunshine , in a plastic housing with no roof and outdoors.

In late September of this year, three of the plants received a cluster of ripe grapes, says senior research technician Tone .

“This year, the summer has been absolutely fantastic, but we were still surprised that the grapes came and they were ripe. It is not normal that vine will fruit the first few years after they are planted,” she said.

In Pasvik, winter temperatures often drop to minus forty.  But it’s the short summer that makes it difficult for grapes to bear fruit so far north.

“We had heard that there were grape varieties that are suitable for 30%-40% loss.  It was exciting to see if they managed to bear fruit in the short summer we have. So we thought, why not try?”  says Aandahl .

Researchers at Svanhovd are not aware of any previously cultivated grapes grown outdoors in Finnmark. This year’s grapes have been a small attraction at Park Centre and have been frequently photographed.

“And that in the future we can produce wine from grapes grown outdoors in Finnmark, research manager does not ignore.”

“If there are equally fine summers in the coming years , one can not ignore some wine from grapes from Finnmark,” said Aandahl .

About Mark Ganchiff

Mark Ganchiff is the publisher of Midwest Wine Press, the leading source of news on the growing wine industry in the central United States. Mark has been a wine judge at the 2012 and 2014 INDY International Wine Competition, the 2014 Cold Climate Wine Competition, the 2013 Mid-American Wine Competition, the 2012 Illinois State Fair Wine Competition and the 2013 Michigan Wine Competition. He also enjoys speaking at wine events including the Cold Climate Wine Conference, the Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association Annual Meeting, the Midwest Grape and Wine Conference and the Wisconsin Fruit and Vegetable Conference. Mark’s articles about regional wine have appeared in Vineyard & Winery Management, WineMaker and several regional magazines.
Mark is a Level One Sommelier in the Court of Master Sommeliers. He lives in Louisville, but also has a residence in Chicago.


  1. But what variety is it?

  2. Isn’t it Northern Norway, not Northern Finland, like the title says?