By John Ensor •
Updated: 15 Aug 2023 • 12:38
Image of a glass of red wine and grapes.
Could climate change be the unexpected catalyst for Finland’s burgeoning wine industry?
The recent leaning of the Finnish government to seek the status of a wine producer within the European Union aligns with the national wine producers’ association Viininkasvattajat ry’s ambitions since August last year, writes BNN.
Currently, Finland’s wine production is largely experimental, with the 2022 grape harvest averaging 146kg and a median of 30kg. The industry’s small scale is primarily due to EU and Finnish regulations, but climate change is beginning to alter the landscape.
Climate change, with its dual role of posing threats and offering opportunities, has made wine production a possibility in the Nordic countries. The warming climate has extended the growing season considerably, providing ample time for grape cultivation. This change has been instrumental in Finland’s pursuit of becoming a recognised wine producer.
The road to commercial winemaking in Finland appears challenging. The association’s 2022 survey indicated limited interest in wine production for sale, and the industry does not anticipate rapid growth even if the EU designation is granted. However, the climate-induced extension of the growing season may foster a slow and sure increase in grape-based wine production.
Despite the time required to establish a vineyard and build expertise in wine production, the industry remains optimistic, largely due to the opportunities presented by climate change. The temperate growing conditions could be ideal for different sparkling wines and rosés, and crafting good red wines is also considered achievable.
While not shifting their focus to grapes, fruit and berry wine producers appreciate the government’s plan to change the law on farm sales of home-grown wines. This proposal, combined with the climate-driven potential for grape cultivation, could level the playing field and improve market opportunities.
If Finland achieves the wine producer designation, its grape-based drinks would be officially termed ‘wine’, with additional benefits including integration into the EU’s wine production regulations. Climate change, in this context, would have played a key role in unlocking a potential share of the one billion euros in annual subsidies granted to global wine producers.
The sought-after designation cannot occur before 2028, as per the regulations of the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) funding period. As the industry keenly awaits the final plans for the upcoming CAP season, set to be revealed at the end of 2024, the impact of climate change on Finland’s wine industry continues to be a subject of both hope and interest.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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