Harald Krabbe seems to be the kind of person, who envisions future projects all the time. Once he goes for something, he likes to do it thoroughly. That is true also for the restauration of the manor. All windows were restored with the old-fashioned technique of dipping them in a tank of heated linseedoil to make sure, they get an extra layer of protection on a natural basis. It is a time consuming and expensive process, but the effect is longlasting. „And that,“ Krabbe says, „is the overall purpose of maintaining Frederiksdal.“
His life is based on a simple attitude: „Everything I do, I do because I like it. In terms of the manor, I have just borrowed it. I’ve been put in here and it’s my job to look after it. And I find it exciting.“ He smiles with a confidence, that seems to derive from an utterly positive mind. Harald Krabbe always seems to have a Plan B, D and C waiting in his drawer. It was in the early years of the new millennium, when he was forced to find different sources of income. When the rise of globalization had ruined the family’s long-standing cherry-juice business, he planned to chop down the cherry trees and plant grain instead.
Luckily, fate had a different plan. Legend has it, that one day in 2006 changed everything. He went for a walk around the fields with food journalist Morten Brink Iwersen and chef Jan Friis Mikkelsen, when Iwersen, whilst tasting the rich flavour of the unique Danish stevnskirsebær, recommended: „Let’s make wine from them!“ A spontaneous „Okay!“- answer by Harald Krabbe marked the beginning of a now 15 year ongoing journey of producing award-winning cherry fruit wine, which sells to every corner of the world. Trying to fathom the essence of traditional wine production, they started off with the best field study there is: a three week road trip to various wineries in Italy, Spain and France. „We literally drank our way through Europe. I would say we are soul brothers in terms of food and wine. You could pick three random wines out of a shelf of one hundred and I am pretty sure, we would prefer the same ones, even if we would not know what the others choice was.“
Their courage for an adventure led them to process the cherry in the traditional way of producing wine, meaning the wine will ferment freely and mature in oak barrels. „Becoming a wine producer,“ Harald Krabbe says, „is like becoming an artist. You choose, which direction you want to go: if you want to be a Picasso, a Renoir or Andy Warhol. You pick it your way.“
Meanwhile, the „Frederiksdal cherry universum“, as they call themselves, holds a range of different products of exceptional flavours like Liquor, Vintage or the Sue Lie, for instance. Its‘ taste derives from having aged in French oak barrels and the amalgamation of two or three different vintages. An average wine takes nine years until it will be served on a table. But another fact adds to the unique taste. „It’s the terroire of the stevns cherry, as we dubb it shortly – the unique taste that derives from the fact, that it has found the perfect conditions to grow in Lolland. The acidity is unique, it is the DNA of our fruit. You have nothing else in the world having this amount of acidity. It has been habituated here for millions of years and won’t grow elsewhere. We are on an island, where the surrounding sea water is not very deep, so it functions like a heating bank. It is being warmed up by the sun and that is why the winters are warmer than in other regions and summers are cooler. The land is very fertile clay that can hold the water more efficiently. So all in all, Lolland is a fantastic place for growing food.“
What started with a vague idea, has turned Frederiksdal into a renowned monopol-business, which, according to Harald Krabbe, will guarantee the last for a few more generations. So that’s the aim: To produce the most authentic cherry-wine the world has ever seen and expanding from a start-up company into the biggest Winery of the Nordic countries. „It has been a very important shift for my life,“ Krabbe says. Producing world-class wine, he finally has found an alternative way to do farming. „Ten years ago I used to say I was stuck alone in a John Deer tractor cabin. These days I am on the road to China or the USA to sell the wine. It’s good fun.“