Kelleris Vineyard is situated in North Zealand, Denmark close to the coast of Oresund - in the beautiful and protected area stretching inland from the Louisiana Museum and Krogerup Folk High School. The vineyard is owned by Susanne and Søren Hartvig Jensen.
The vineyard was established in 2001. On a southeast slope providing favourable growing conditions, 1,000 vines of mixed varieties were planted. The following year another 3,000 vines of the Rondo variety were added. Today the vineyard has a total of 4,200 vines on an area of 1.3 hectares, or 3.2 acres, equalling 6 kilometres of vine espaliers.
The wines from Kelleris Vineyard are called Utopia, named after the utopian project which it seemed to be at the outset in 2001, but which today has become living reality.
In 2007 the vineyard's subterranean winery was completed which means that all processes in the wine production are now done at the vineyard.
Passion and Focus on Quality
The goal of Kelleris Vineyard is to make commercial Danish wines of the highest possible quality.
Utopia wines from Kelleris Vineyard are made with passion and dedication to quality. The vines are cut and pruned intensively during the growth season, and green harvesting is done. The grape clusters are hand picked and hand sorted to ensure that only the very best grapes are used.
The vinification follows traditional procedures; fermentation in open vessels with manual stirring.
The wines mature primarily in French, American and Hungarian oak barriques.
The making of the Wine
It has been said that 90 per cent of a wine's quality is made in the field and only the last 10 per cent can be improved during the vinification. As a natural consequence, Kelleris Vineyard focuses dedicatedly on optimal tending of the vines in the field all through the growth season.
Grape Varieties at Kelleris Vineyard
As a whole, the grape varieties grown in Denmark differ from the well-known varieties cultivated under southern skies.
The wine grape varieties used in Denmark have stronger winter hardiness and require less sunshine and lower temperature during the growth season to reach full ripeness. Also, a number of the varieties are more resistant to fungal diseases, which is a great advantage as Denmark has relatively heavy rainfall during the growth season.
Tending the Vines
The vines are cut, pruned and tended optimally to yield best possible fruit. Due to the limited hours of sunshine and to the lower temperature in Denmark, it is extremely important that the vine wall is trimmed to make it light and airy. This will facilitate penetration of sunlight to the clusters and also let wind and sun dry the vine after mist and rain. Quiete a number of the varieties which can be cultivated in Denmark, shoot longer head and side shoots than the traditional varieties growing in Southern Europe, making it essiential that the vines are pruned all through the summer growth season, if not, the vines will become too dense very quickly.
At Kelleris Vineyard all field work in connection with tending the vines and harvesting the grapes is done manually. The vines are tended and examined innumerable times throughout the growth season.
The grape clusters are hand picked and hand sorted to ensure that only the very best grapes are used.
The creation of the final wine - from stalking the clusters until the filled bottles are corked - is called vinification. It requires knowledge, meticulousness, experience, continuing experiments and a lot of equipment to ensure a decent quality of the final product.
At Kelleris Vineyard vinification is done in the traditional way with alcoholic fermentation in open vats and stirring by hand.
After the first fermentation the wine undergoes a malolactic fermentation process where the sharp apple acid is converted into the softer lactic acid. The wine matures in new or second-hand oak barriques of different origins - French, American or Hungarian.
The Vineyard's terroir
The concept of terroir encompasses the total natural environment of a vineyard and is the key decisive factor in determining the quality of the final product.
The terroir of Kelleris Vineyard is exceptionally good. The field is on a southeast slope, well protected by wind breaks to the north and west. The soil is light sandy clay. Because of Kelleris Vineyard's close vicinity to the coast, potentially damaging low nighttime temperatures during winter, bud break and harvest seasons are minimized due to the sea's warming effect.
Seven different varieties
At Kelleris Vineyard the primary red wine grape is Rondo growing on 3,600 vines. Two other red wine grapes, Leon Millot and Regent are grown on some 600 plants.
The white varieties are Ortega, Solaris, Zalas and Phönix , all thriving well outdoors in the Danish climate. However, Rondo is the red grape wine which thrives and matures the best, and yields a pleasant, vigorous and fruity wine.
Regent is a so-called inter-specific variety, a crossing between the varieties Silvaner and Müller Thurgau and Chambourcin developed by the German Geilweilerhof Institute for Grape Breeding. It is a new variety and was released for commercial cultivation in 1995. Today Regent is cultivated on 2,200 hectares in Germany ( 2 per cent of the cultivated vine area).
Regent is a red grape variety with broad resistance against most fungal diseases. Regent wines are colour intensive, vigorous and spicy. Experience shows that it is particularly well suited as a cuvée, blended with other varieties.
Rondo was created in 1964 in the then-Czechoslovakia but was later developed further into the Rondo variety we know today by Geisenheim, the German Grape Breeding Institute. It was only released for commercial use in 1997 when it got its name Rondo. Because it is a relatively new variety, it is not yet very widespread and therefore unknown to the vast majority of wine consumers.
Rondo is a so-called inter-specific variety, a crossing between several varieties of the European Vitis Vinifera and the Asiatic Vitis Amurensis. To be exact, it is a crossing between the varieties Precose de Malingre x Vitis Amurensis and St. Laurent.Today the Vinifera variety St. Laurent is widely cultivated in the Czech Republic ( approx. 2,000 hectares) and in the areas around Vienna, Austria (approx. 500 hectares). The Amurensis variety is widespread in Asia and has adapted to a climate where harsh and cool growth seasons prevail.
Genetically Rondo is much closer to the Vinifera variety but, quite conveniently, it has inherited some of the qualities from the Amurensis. Rondo can cope with cold winters, it buds early, grows and matures at lower temperatures, and is more resistant against fungal diceases than the traditional Vinifera varieties. Therefore the Germans have decided to redefine Rondo to belong under the Vitis Vinifera variety, as its predominant genes are from the Vinifera variety.
Rondo vine produces relatively large grape clusters, the grapes are thick skinned with a strong bluish hue and taste of dark berries. It is a vigorous vine with large, dark green leaves, it grows long shoots and yields much fruit. For wine production it is therefore advantageous to limit the yield of the plant through hard winter pruning, to reduce the number of fruit-bearing buds and also to thin clusters, the so-called "green harvest", in middle of the growth season.
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