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China Buys Cherry Wine for Millions

Frederiksdal Estate has revolutionised the concept of cherry wine and now the Chinese have widened their gaze on to these fine bottles.

Frederiksdal Estate

Chinese Glamazon has signed a 10-­year contract worth millions of DKK for the Frederiksdal cherry wine.  

Frederiksdal  Estate is situated on the westernmost tip of Lolland and since 2006 it has produced high quality cherry wines from the berries from the estate’s own cherry orchards.In recent years, Frederiksdal has turned the concept of cherry wine upside down in Denmark, which has traditionally been a cheap, unambitious wine.

China is huge
“This year the Chinese have also bought plenty of the Lolland wine”, says Harald Krabbe, who owns Frederiksdal Estate and is Director of the cherry wine company.

“Right  now, we are packing the second container this year to China, so they are serious,” he says, and refers to Glamazon having spent around DKK1,000,000 on marketing for the wine in China and they have visited the estate on Lolland several times.

“Both in the meeting with Glamazon and more importantly in the negotiation phase, it was crucial that Frederiksdal as an entrepreneurial business without major export experience, could rely on Danish-Chinese Business Forum and the Danish diplomacy,” emphasises Harald Krabbe.

The breakthrough came last year at the massive, Danish business delegation last year, where an army of ministers, the Queen and Prince Consort also attended.

“We were along as the smallest Danish company, but it simply laid the foundation for the contract, because those kinds of ceremonies really matter. For all parties,” he says.

Denmark’s first wine chateau
It certainly was not in the cards that Frederiksdal Estate would become Denmark’s first wine chateau. Back in 2006, Harald Krabbe knew nothing about wine, but met journalist Morten Brink Iwersen and Chef Jan Friis-­Mikkelsen by coincidence.

Jan Friis Mikkelsen (left), Morten Brink Iwersen (middle), Harald Krabbe (right)

“They were both quite fascinated by my cherry orchards. Actually, I wanted to pull the trees up, because there was simply no money in cherries, but they convinced me that we should try to make some wine instead,” says Harald Krabbe.

“For the first couple of years it did not taste well at all, but after many attempts and various research trips to the wine­producing world, the quality got better and better.In the end, the Danish wine reviewers were just as excited as Morten and Jan,” remembers Harald Krabbe with a smile, who has also started to like the wine.

In 2009, the actual production was moved onto the estate itself in a huge winery, which once housed several hundred cows.

Initially, the wine was only sold locally on the island of Lolland. Today, exports account for about 25% of Frederiksdal’s turnover. The target is that it should be up to 80%. In addition to China, which is Frederiksdal’s largest export market, you can find the Danish cherry wine in Sweden, Norway, Germany and the USA.

Since its tentative beginnings, ownership has today expanded with Mikael Vest from Vinderstrategi A/S, who has also acted as Chairman of the Board for several years. The Sales Director is Anne-Marie Skriver, who was previously the Sales Manager at Nakskov Mill Foods.

Other articles part of Newsletter vol. 5, 2015