Over the past decade, a true beverage revolution has taken place on Samsø. Small producers of everything from red wine, beer and vodka to cold-pressed apple juice, herbal snaps, berry juice and even eau de vie have set themselves up on farms, in barns, store rooms and even in an old bus garage.
Most of the producers have in common that their flavours come directly from Samsø’s trees, shrubs, flowers, fields and vines.
Pressure on Alstrup
The reflection of light from Stauns Fjord, many hours of sunshine and a suitable humidity give a beautiful colour and a perfect aroma to the apples and pears growing in Brdr. Kjeldahl’s orchard in Alstrup.
Some of the hundreds of tons of apples picked every late summer and autumn are cold pressed and end up in bottles as unfiltered apple juice full of fine and subtle flavours and fruit fibres. Apples with minor blemishes, preventing them from being sold as fresh fruit, also end up in the unfiltered juice and Brdr. Kjeldahl hereby help combat food waste.
Quite close to the orchard stands row upon row of green and red grapes. We are at Samsø Vinsyndikat (Samsø Wine Syndicate) run by a number of men in their prime. The project started as a hobby more than 10 years ago, and even today, with more than 3,500 bottles produced annually, no one should profit from it.
However, this does not make the wine any worse. Quite the contrary. The vineyard is dominated by the varieties Rondo and Solaris which are well suited to the Nordic climate but experiments are also conducted with Gewürztraminer, Cabernet Cortis and Pinot Noir. Samsø Vinsyndikat makes white, red and rosé wines and the latest addition is the exclusive ‘Cartello’ matured in French oak barrels.
The capital of the percentages
If we turn the compass downwards and the refractometer upwards, we hit Tranebjerg which, within the past few years has seen the emergence of two new distilleries.
In the middle of town you’ll find Sams Island Distillery, famous for its gin made from local juniper and orange ants from the local heath. When Mads and Jesper develop new products it is essential that the ingredients, as far as possible, come from Samsø. The potatoes for the snaps come from Vesterløkken, the molasses for their RÅM (rum) is made at Samsø Sugar Factory in Pillemark and Michael, owner of the organic apple orchard in Toftebjerg, delivers the Holsteiner Cox apples for the apple gin.
The former bus garage in Tranebjerg holds the island’s latest spiritous venture. Vinøs Samsø is the name of the small company that has set out in the world to refine some raw materials which would otherwise go to waste. All the leftovers from Samsø Vinsyndikat’s production is distilled into the grape brandy, named ’Livets Vand’ (‘Water of Life’). Another interpretation of a brandy classic is ‘Balvados’, which gives an affectionate nod to its French cousin, Calvados. The apple brandy is named Balvados as the apples are sourced from gardens in Ballen and the surrounding area.
Michael, who owns Vinøs Samsø is also engaged in a major beer brewing project in the same former bus garage. The many beer variants have found their way to the draft beer taps of many of the island’s eateries, while the bottles, which naturally feature a vintage bus on their labels, can be purchased in the island’s shops.
Nordby’s hops pioneers
Since 2006, Samsø Bryghus in Nordby has provided beer for thirsty islanders and holidaymakers. Stinne and Kim, who own the brewery, make 11 different types of beer and in addition a number of seasonal beers – all from organic ingredients. Brewer Kim is experimenting with malting his own grain and cultivating hops.
The brewery also houses a café and a shop where dishes based on the farm’s own production of meat and vegetables are served. Dishes that go well with the beer and which are all named after places on Samsø.
On the farm Holmgård at the foot of Besser Rev (Besser Reef) another of the island’s alcohol producers can be found. Samsø Bær has made products of its own fruits, berries, nuts, herbs and flowers since 2001. In the snaps room a whole host of liqueurs and herb snaps are produced, some of which are matured in French oak barrels.
Samsø Bær is also responsible for the ready-to-drink juices made from blackcurrants, rhubarb, gooseberries, etc. This year’s range of juices will be further extended with a few organic varieties.
Meet the manufacturers
- Brdr. Kjeldahl | brdr-kjeldahl.dk
There are no guided tours of the orchard. Instead you can join Brdr. Kjeldahl’s Vegetable Safari, which starts out from Nordby.
- Samsø Vinsymdikat| samsovin.com
Offers guided tours of the vineyard during the season.
- Sams Island Distillery | samsisland.dk Has demonstrations throughout the year.
- Vinøs Samsø | vinos-samso.dk
- Samsø Bryghus | samsoe-bryghus.dk
During the summer season, the brewery holds beer tastings and guided tours.
- Samsø Bær | samsobaer.dk
Holds guided tours every Wednesday and Saturday from May to September.
Last updated: 08/02/2021 16:14