Italian wines in Finland: the story of a young market

We met Jani Kinnunen to get to know about the perspective of italian wines in Finland. Jani is a marketing expert but his real passion is food and wine. In his Finland he is quite well known for his experience in cooking and his skills in wine, which is why he was the ideal companion on our trip to that beautiful land. If you want to better understand who he is, you can follow him on his Instagram channel (@sivumaku) or you can practice Finnish on his blog. Meanwhile, let’s see what he told us about Italian wine and combinations with the cuisine of his country, a market that is still very young from this point of view.

What are the most famous Italian wines in Finland? Is there a “style” that you like most in your country?

Finnish people love Ripasso. I have once counted in Alko (our monopoly) that there were 80 italian red wines and 50 of them were Ripassos. I like Ripasso but mostly I go with Chianti. I like the dryness and acidity. My favourites include also Barolo and Brunello di Montalcino. Sangiovese is the number one of red grapes. In white wines I prefer for example Roero Arneis and crisp whites from the Northern Italy near the Alpes. Another Finnish favourite is Prosecco. I believe that the reason is the same as in Ripasso and that is a tiny sweetness which makes the wine more easy. Finnish wine culture is really young. In my opinion it started to grow fast in the beginning of 2000’s. Nowadays people know some grapes and wine styles but there are onky a few favourites. Fortunately couple of those are Italian.

What are the moments and places where wine is consumed in Finland?

Quite a few people drink wine on weekdays and most of the consumption is drank on weekends. Wine is still a bit of a luxury product for the Finns. Nevertheless a great number of the consumption is sold in 3 litre boxes. On the other hand there are many people who drink wine mostly only in restaurants. Wine is quite expensive here and the cheapest bottles cost about 8 euros. The basic bottle costs something like 12 to 15 euros.

We know that you also like to cook and travel, do you think Italian wines go well with Finnish cuisine?

I cook all kinds of food from all over the world. My favourite cuisine is Italian so Italian wines are a natural choice. I think that the best pairing for traditional Finnish food is beer but there are of course many dishes that goes well with Italian wines.

Your passions are about food, wine, travel… How well do you know Rome and Lazio and, if so, do you think you will come here soon? Maybe to taste our cuisine and our wines that are also present in Finland…

I have been in Rome four times. Last time was 2018. I love the city and many places in Italy also. Local cuisine offers so many classics. Cacio e pepe and Saltimbocca are my favourites. It was just yesterday when I cooked Chicken Saltimbocca and enjoyed it with a tasty Roero Arneis.  I hope that this covid mess ends soon and I can come back again to enjoy the authentic atmosphere and culinary delights.