How often do you order a glass of wine and think, mmm, quite nice, but it would be so much better if it were a little more fruity or maybe a little more tannic… No, the tannins are fine, what is lacking is more power? Or more acid? In other words, if you were the winemaker, you would have made the wine differently and you might even have come up with a better product, or in any case you would have created a wine that corresponds to your taste.
If that is how you feel, Högberga Vinfabrik is just the ticket for you. Located in Lidingö on the grounds of a country hotel, it is a small winery that makes its own wine and that offers wine tasting sessions to the public. These sessions include a visit of Vinfabrik’s premises with detailed explanations into the winemaking process as well as a tasting of their range of wine accompanied by delicious Italian cheeses and cold cuts.
Visiting a winery in a country not known for wine production, and what’s more in the centre of a city, is unusual and interesting and the tasting session at Vinfabrik is equally innovative. You don’t just sit and sip, but you mix and assess. Vinfabrik invites you to discover its single varietal wines and to experiment into making different blends with two or three of them. The winery sources its grapes from Bolgheri in Italy, a region known for its Super Tuscans, where the main varieties are the French Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and the indigenous Sangiovese.
We arrived at Vinfabrik to find three glasses of red wine, a measuring beaker and some empty glasses waiting for us. The sommelier hosting the event invited us to first taste each one of the single varietal red wines, which were a young Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sangiovese, and to pick out their main feature. The consensus was that tannin came to the fore in Cabernet Sauvignon, fruit in Merlot and acidity in Sangiovese.
He next requested that we pour two measures of Cabernet Sauvignon and one measure of Merlot into a glass. What did we think of it? Was the blend more interesting than the individual wines? How did the different characteristics of the varieties balance out? Those proportions of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are in fact typical in a Bordeaux left bank red wine. Our next task was to mix 0.3 dl Cabernet Sauvignon, 0.3 dl Merlot and 1 dl Sangiovese, a Robert Parker-like recipe, the sommelier told us, to give power and complexity to the thinner, more acidic and light-coloured Sangiovese. Once our introduction to blending was over, we were provided with some more empty glasses and a top-up of wine. It was now our turn to experiment. The idea is for us to come up with our very own blend, the combination that we think works the best, a wine that we tailor make to suit our taste. But this is not an exercise for a one-off moment of pleasure. The winery will prepare your preferred blend for you. It will bottle, label and package it so that you may enjoy your very own wine back home. All you need to do is give the winery “your recipe” and the desired number of bottles. Your order will be ready for you to pick up at some later date from a Systembolaget shop.
Urban wineries have been popping up in cities all over the world, in the US (New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Cincinnati), in the UK (London) and in Hong Kong, to name a few. Stockholm has even gained a second one, The Winery Hotel, which opened in January 2016. The services provided vary from one winery to another. Some offer hotel accommodation, dining, spa, and can be hired for conferences and weddings. The core attractions that all have in common are wine tasting, an introduction to the winemaking process and equipment, and some form of hands-on experience whether it be participation in the winemaking process or blending your own wine.
Högberga Vinfabrik started off in 2004 as a hobby in a garage in the southern outskirts of Stockholm city. Two friends, one of them having previously lived in Tuscany, thought it would be fun to get hold of some grapes in Italy and drive them back to Sweden to make wine. Neither of them had any experience in winemaking but they managed to get help along the way and their project took off. The hobby turned into a commercial venture and six years later the whole operation moved to its current location at Högberga Gård. Here the winery can house tanks, barrels, and bottles and has a tasting room to accommodate visitors. Today Högberga Vinfabrik is busy catering to wine consumers who are ever more knowledgeable and eager to broaden the scope of their experience of wine.
Högberga Vinfabrik and The Winery Hotel in Stockholm both offer winemaking sessions. They also have a restaurant, a hotel and can be booked for conferences and weddings.
c/o Högberga Gård Hotell & Konferens
Grindstigen 5-6, 181 62 Lidingö
Tel: +46 (0)8 546 46 100
Fax: +46 (0)8 546 46 200
The Winery Hotel
169 74 Solna
Tel: +46 (0)8 146 000
Very good Sarah,
I wonder if mixing single varietal grape wines together is really the way to go to produce your own wine.I could buy bottles of pure merlot, pure cabernet, and pure syrah for example and mix them at home on the kitchen table to get the right taste. You could vary it a bit to for the kind of food you would be eating. Or so it seems. Of course in a country like Sweden, pre-bottling your private mix could be a suitable compromise.
All the best,
Love from Dad