Snow the secret ingredient for making wine in Finland

Snow, preferably a thick layer of it, is the recipe for successful winegrowing in western Finland, at what is believed to be the world’s northernmost winery.

Thanks to an insulating layer of snow, winter temperatures as low as -36 degrees Celsius (-33 degrees Fahrenheit) have not managed to freeze the Riesling, Merlot and Chardonnay vines of Finnish wine pioneer Kaarlo Nelimarkka, 74.

On the contrary, Nelimarkka is more concerned about the sun’s rays than the winter frost piercing his Sundom winery in the town of Vaasa, just 400 kilometres (250 miles) south of the Arctic Circle.

“The winter is not a problem. The biggest problems are too short summers and the strong spring sun which can make the vine shoot out sprouts even when the soil is still frozen,” the retired Vaasa town administrator tells AFP.

He can make up to 400 bottles of whites, reds and roses in a good year, combining the hardier grape varieties Madeleine Angevine, Gewurztraminer and Solaris to make his speciality, Sundom White.