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Summer blahs – not! Work and wine

July 20, 2005
Sheesh, why am I saying blahs?? This summer so far has been great in Finland! The weather has been warm (especially after Juhannus at the end of June), the berries have been great, the beer always tastes good and of course there is always summer holidays!
I had a "holiday" last week – if you can call it that. I was up in the Vehmersalmi area (not far from Kuopio) working on a farm. I can’t even begin to tell you how many cubic metres of wood I cut and piled last week and man – it was HOT outside. My dad would be proud!  All of the hard work of last week brought me back to when I was 16 and spent the whole summer working on a farm near Bruce Mines, Ontario. It was hard work then, but age seems to have made a difference this time around. ha ha! It wasn’t all hard work though. I finally got to go strawberry picking at a "pick your own" place about 30km south of Kuopio. Two of us picked 50 litres of berries in two and half hours, they were fantastic. I was also told to "eat as many as you want too." Umm – I did that and my belly thanked me for it later, but damn, they were good berries!
Not far from Kuopio is a vineyard called Alahovi Viinitila ( and after driving by it about a million times, we finally paid a visit there. (This is what I love about living here, I always learn something new…) We did a little wine tasting – they make their wine from berries, and we left there with five bottles of wine. There are about 50 different vineyards in Finland, all toiling away making their products from local berries, apples and whatever else grows. You can find out more on the official Finnish website at You have to click around on the names of the vineyards to get more information and not all of the sites are available in English. I learned that there is one place not too far from where I live, so I might drag my other half out there some time. It’s called Viinipaja and it is in Kirkkonummi
Cheers, here’s to the summer!
p.s. You can buy Canadian wine in Finland. In 2004 Canada exported more than $24,000 of wine to Finland, constituting some 19,400 litres of wine. One of Canada’s biggest wine exports is "ice wine", and at more than €60 per bottle, it is not cheap! You can also find wines from the Niagara Peninsula in Ontario and from B.C.’s Okanagan Valley. Take a look at your closest Alko and ask them to order in Canadian wines if they don’t have what is listed in the Hinnasto magazine. You can also check the Alko website at
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