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Australian consultant Richard Smart advices Danes to make more sparkling wine

>> Wednesday, July 13, 2005

BKWine recently met the well known Australian wine making consultant Richard Smart at a quick visit he made to Denmark. He was invited by the Danish Wine Growers’ Association. Some 30 (!) members and other visitors (including a few Swedes!) participated in the seminar that was organised by Dansk VinCenter (

Richard currently consults in 24 different countries and Peru is on its way to become his 25th country. He has (by design or by coincidence) become somewhat of an expert on cool climate vineyards. since two years he even works with a vineyard in Tasmania (Tamar Ridge) where he successfully makes a Pinot Noir. That Denmark indeed is a cool climate area was proven by this June day that boasted just barely 10 degrees Celsius and plenty of rain. “This is not cool climate”, he said “it is freezing. The coldest I have experienced for wine growing”. We had to assure him that this was not the normal weather in June. But it didn’t prevent Richard to keep a somewhat sceptical attitude during the presentation. According to Richard, the climate is the most important factor when growing wine. After that comes the grape variety and then the wine producer. And what about the soil? “Terrois is just nonsense”, he replies. –“The importance of soil has been very much exaggerated. It’s chemical composition is not very important but its structure and physical properties are, since they influence drainage.”

Richard’s advice to the Danish wine growers (or to other cold climate wine growers):

* Make more sparkling wine since they require low alcohol and high acidity. And don’t be afraid to make red sparkling.
* Denmark is a flat country near the sea. You need to protect the vines from the wind by constructing wind breakers
* Try many different grape varieties. There are many varieties today that can be recommended for cool climates.
* Grow the vines under plastic cover. It can raise the temperature with 5 degrees.
* Prune the vines very low in winter and cover them with soil to protect them from the worst winter frosts.

But maybe the cool climate is soon past in Denmark. Richards see two main threats against wine growing today: One is the decrease in consumption and the other is global warming.

Read more about Richard Smart on


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