Skip to content

Karelian berry wine hits sweet spot at German Yule markets

German fans of glühwein are discovering a distinctive Finnish twist on the traditional Christmas mulled wine.

Image: Heikki Haapalainen / Yle

Stepping into the Hermanni berry winery’s shop on an autumn day is like stepping into the aromas of Christmas. Wafting into the shop from the production facility behind it are the spices of Finnish mulled wine, known as glögi. Here in Ilomantsi, in North Karelia some 25 km from the Russian border, traditional _glögi _is made with an eye on the German market – with help from local Greek Orthodox monks.

“We makeglögimostly from our farm’s own raw materials,” says CEO Harri Turunen. “The basic ingredient is black currant juice. However most of the normalglögispices are imported.” These include cinnamon, cardamom and cloves.

Image: Yle

Spicing up holiday fairs

The Hermanni firm’s distinctive blend of spices seems to have hit a sweet spot with consumers in Europe’s largest economy.

“German Christmas markets traditionally serve glühwein made from grapes. So this berry glögi is something special for them,” says Turunen.

Some of the seasonal beverage has an alcohol content of 4.7 percent while the rest is non-alcoholic. This year, the Hermanni Winery is teaming up with the Orthodox New Valamo Monastery in Heinävesi to produce more than 50,000 litres of glögi for sale in Finland and at German Weihnachtsmärkte markets.

“We have good partners there. So far our glögi has been available at three Christmas markets, but we’re expanding that through our local partners,” Turunen says.

Lorries will soon begin heading south from Ilomantsi, carrying 1000-litre bags of holiday cheer. The drink is then packed in Germany into smaller containers for sale, steaming hot, at seasonal markets.