Ever seen a grape flower?

I work 8 years in the wine industry, but have always been involved in what happens after the grapes are harvested. 2 months ago my husband and me decided to plant some vines to find out how grapevines are growing and to follow the life of a vine throughout all seasons.

In the first year no grapes should be allowed to grow on the plant, as they take a lot of energy from the plant. However as we were very curious, we allowed two plants to have grape flowers after which we will cut them off not to stop the plant from growing.

Around end of June, the first flowers popped up.

This flower is from our Pinot noir plant. You can see the start of a grape form which really beautiful. The flowers as such are very small and will be pollinated by the wind.

After pollination, you can clearly see the pollinated grapes taking shape; ready to grow and mature.

This picture is taken from Pometet in Taastrup where they have planted a lot of different varieties. This variety is called Bolero, a hybrid red variety that is early flowering.

So nice to follow the development of a vine :-).

Excellent weather for vines

It is now a month ago we planted our vines in the backyard and they are really happy on our south slope. They grow very fast and we decided now to remove the mini greenhouse we had put around them. To our surprise there were not only one but often several shoots coming up.

So we needed to decide which shoot is the best one and remove the other shoots down to one leaf, so the plant still gets the energy from the sun to help growing.

After cutting the shoots, we tied the plants up to an iron stick, so the stem can grow straight, which is the most important goal of the growth season the first year.

This is how they look now:

Riesling:

Pinot noir:

Pinot blanc:

Souvignon gris:

Solaris:

And our whole ‘vineyard’:

Nature’s wonder – or how good our vines are growing in Denmark

I am in love …with our newly planted vines. It is so wonderful that you can grow vines in Denmark and that is exactly what my husband and me are trying out. In our backyard on a sunny south slope we planted 5 different varieties: Pinot blanc, Pinot noir, Riesling, Souvignon gris and Solaris. The first three varieties are well-known and the last ones are hybrid varieties who are better equipped against diseases like mildew and botrytis.

The vines are planted 2,5 weeks ago and here is a status of how they are doing. First of all, I have to say we had very good weather here with absolute summer weather the last week. So perfect conditions for our little baby vibes to settle in the soil.

And they are growing …fast! The fastest growers are Pinot blanc and Pinot noir.

Pinot blanc:

Pinot noir:

If you look very carefully, you can see the silhouette of a small bunch of grapes. Yes, this is indeed a flower to come :-). In the first year, you are not supposed to have grapes already, so you wait until the flowers have blossomed and then you cut off the grapes to come. This is to make sure that the plant will use all its energy in growing.

Riesling:

And our hybrid varieties, Souvignon gris:

Solaris:

The plants are full of energy even though we only have watered them once. We would like the plants to get deep roots, so we are not watering them too much, to make sure the roots are growing deep to find the water themselves.

It is an exciting adventure …and I will keep you posted!

Vineyard in my backyard

A new adventure has started in my backyard: my husband and me have planted 13 vines this weekend.

As it is not obvious to keep typical Vitis vinifera grape varieties (the varieties we all know like Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon) in our cold climate in Denmark, we decided to plant 6 different varieties. We planted 3 Vitis vinifera varieties: Riesling, Spaetburgunder (Pinot noir) and Pinot blanc and one more to come: Chardonnay. Besides these vines we also planted two so-called disease resistant varieties: Solaris and Souvignon gris. The latter two are more resistant to mold attacks like powdery and downey mildew and botrytis.

We planted the vines in our backyard on a south slope in three rows and one more to come for our Chardonnay plants which have not arrived yet. The rows are in the north-south direction so the grapes will get the most sun. The hedge around the plants will make sure that the plants are protected against the wind.

The vines need to be planted so that the crafted vine on the rootstock is sitting just above the soil.

The crafting is protected by a wax layer to protect the place where the vine is connected to the rootstock, as this is still very fragile in the beginning.

To extra protect the very young vines from the wind and to create a greenhouse effect, we also bought some insulated protection tubes to put around the vines.

Now the vines are planted, it is waiting for them to grow. I will keep you up-to-date how it is going with this exciting new project.

Rodenbach classic – delicious when the sun is out

One of my favorite sour beers is Rodenbach, a Flemish Red type beer. This beer is aged on big wooden barrels called ‘foeders’ for on average 6 months (for the classic). The final beer is a blend of young and older beer, and tastes slightly sour with a very fruity finish. Delicious in the sun on a terrace.

And as the tradition says, even more delicious with unpeeled shrimps, drinking the beer while peeling and eating the shrimps, definitely worth a try!

Cheers!

Greenie

  • Inspired by the Danish television program called ‘rigtige mænd’ or ‘real guys’ translated, I wanted to try to make a greenie. In the program 4 guys are trying to live in a healthier way and one of their goals is eating more vegetables. To make this interesting, their coach asked them to make green smoothies with the veggies, called greenies.
  • To make a greenie, you basically put some veggies, fruit if you like to and either juice, a milk base or water together and tada, it is ready.

    After googling some recipes for inspiration, I decided to make my own recipe. So I bought some almond milk, green kale, spinach and apples. The recipe is very easy:

    – 200 ml almond milk

    – handful of fresh spinach

    – handful of green kale

    – 1 apple

    Put everything in the blender:

    Blend it together and you get a wonderful color.

    Poor in a glass

    And then just enjoy! It tasted very nice my first trial, quite nutty from the almond milk, but not sweet (which I like). You also can taste the greens, but very softly. Proud that it worked the first time :-).

    I just went running, and this was the perfect snack afterwards!

    Bernard Massard – Sparkling wine from Luxembourg

    Last week I went to the airport in Luxembourg for the first time in my life. It is a very nice small airport with very good service. To be considered again if I need to be in the neighborhood another time.

    As I traditionally bring a present for my husband when I travel for business, I found a local sparkling wine I thought would be fun to try. I know the brand Bernard Massard from Luxembourg, as my parents used to drink this as well. So I bought a Millésimé from 2015 from Bernard Massard.

    My husband and me opened the bottle last weekend to taste this product from Luxembourg.

    The bottle said Brut, but it was not as Brut as I am used to from Champagne. As the grape varieties were not mentioned on the bottle, I looked it up on their website: https://www.bernard-massard.lu/tous-les-produits/bernard-massard-millesime-brut-cremant-de-luxembourg-2015/

    The grapes used are Pinot Blanc and Riesling. I was surprised to find this, as it is a combination I did not try before. That was probably the reason why the aroma was quite fruity and floral, and the taste dry but not as dry as Champagne. A very good combination though when you don’t like it too Brut. And excellent as aperitif.

    So I can recommend to try this crémant de Luxembourg.

    What type of sparkling wine do you drink?

    Wiener schnitzel and a good craft beer

    What is better in Germany than Wiener schnitzel and beer? It is maybe very old fashioned to say, but I do like a good schnitzel, especially when you can try it with a new German beer style. You guessed it right, I am in Germany and had a great evening in a local restaurant with typical German food, but with a special beer menu.

    The schnitzel I tried was called Jagerschnitzel with a lovely mushroom sauce. The beer I choose to have with it, was a hoppy lager from Craft werk, the gourmet style brand of Bitburger.

    To my surprise the beer was excellent, with a very good bitterness balance and a hint of fresh hops. It is not always that a big beer brand also produces a high quality gourmet brand, but in this case it is definitely true.

    My colleague and me decided to try one more beer and I choose the Tangerine dream, a pale ale produced with mandarine hops.

    Another excellent example of how to produce a hoppy pale ale. The smell was completely mandarine and the taste had a prickling orange zesty hint, but very balanced with the malt flavor.

    We asked the waitress where we could find those beers, but apparently they are mostly available online. So if you see those beers in a bar or restaurant, definitely worth a try! I enjoyed them very much, especially because they were not extreme in flavor, but very well balanced.

    Have you ever had a German craft beer?

    Spring is in the air

    Can you also feel it? The sun is out more often, the birds are singing and the temperature feels like going for a walk. Indeed, spring is in the air! Especially last weekend in Denmark was so nice with blue skies and sun.

    My husband and me went for a ride on Saturday and stopped at Arresø for a coffee with a beautiful view.

    It was late afternoon already and the sun was on her way down. But how good it felt to just siping some coffee outside with the sun in your face :-). There is truly no better feeling.

    Also in our garden, the flowers are suddenly there and everywhere. The white and yellow spring flowers are just popping out over the whole garden.

    My heart makes a jump every time I see them.

    We cannot deny it, winter is almost over. I can’t wait to sitting on our terrace again enjoying the sun and hearing birds singing all day. Spring is in the air!

    Can you feel the spring coming as well?

    Sunday Brewday

    It’s cold outside, and my husband has put some wood in our fireplace. It cannot become more cosy than that. After a hygge morning on the sofa with nice breakfast and coffee, I am on my way to my brewery, as it is a perfect day to brew.

    I ordered malt and hops at Brewparts and bought some yeast at Maltbazaren. My two favorite places to order home brewing ingredients. It is time now to brew another Belgian Blond. I am still struggling to get this recipe right, so the only thing left is learning by doing. I used some pilsner and Cara Blond malt and I also changed the mashing regime. I mashed in at 52 degrees Celsius, raised the temperature to 65 degrees Celsius and finished by 73 degrees Celsius. In this way, I hope to get a bit more body and mouthfeel.

    My Braumeister is working fine today and I’m really happy for that. After mashing, I used my crane to lift the pot and I rinsed the spent grains with 8 liter of water to get all the sugar out.

    Now it is time for boiling and adding the hops.

    I used two types of hops: Hallertau Mittelfruh and Saaz.

    After boiling, I use my spoon to whirlpool and then I cool down the wort until 70 degrees Celsius. Then I poor the wort into a fermentation bucket and let it cool down further in my fermentation closet.

    Tomorrow I will add the yeast (WLP540) and then we need to wait until the yeast has done its job.

    Have you done something creative today?