Heidi Mäkinen MW is adding new Red Stars to Helsinki map

Andreas Grube
Published 09-May-2024
Interview / Finland

Today we update our guide to the best wine bars and wine restaurants in Finland with four new Red Stars. The additions are selected by Heidi Mäkinen MW, Finland ambassador and long-time member of our Star Wine List of the Year jury panel.

"Albeit the economic situation is not great, similar to many other parts of the world, the wine scene is in continuous development in Finland. New producers are brought to the market by various distributors and new restaurants are also opening up their doors, keeping the restaurant scene quite dynamic," says Heidi Mäkinen.

She also says that there is an ongoing discussion about the status of the monopoly and whether the monopoly status will be lifted, first for wines and other alcoholic beverages up to 8% abv and perhaps in the future for all wines.

"It remains to be seen when this change might happen and how would it impact the on-trade and people’s consumption behaviours in general."

Three of the new Red Stars have previously been listed as White Stars, and the last Red Star is a totally new listing.

What are the most exciting developments in Finland recently?
"The wine scene is increasingly diversifying and people are open-minded to try new things and follow recommendations by knowledgeable staff. People are also interested in trying more exclusive wines which are more frequently offered in different venues thanks to Coravin. Albeit the most development happens in the capital and other big cities, there are also some interesting restaurants popping up in other parts of the country where tourism helps bring guests to the venues."

The four new Red Stars:

Brasserie Alexanderplats
Minne Champagne & Wine

What styles/regions etc are most in demand?
"Sommeliers have for a long time been raving about grower Champagnes and Burgundy but with the increasingly rising prices many are open also for other options offering better value. Other traditional method sparkling wines such as Crémant is often poured in restaurants by the glass, and to my delight more and more Spanish and Greek wines are also seen in the market."

"Italian reds are very much in demand, both in the restaurants and the monopoly. There are also a few people trying to bring exciting producers from outside of Europe to the scene, but this is still a work in progress. To see more of these wines would require sommeliers to have access to try the wines and to be further exposed to them, as many still only know the big brands from countries outside of Europe."

What are the new Red Stars adding to the scene?
"The new additions are all from Helsinki which clearly shows I should travel more within our country! However, the venues being quite different between them, I think it goes to show how Helsinki has various styles to offer depending on whether one wishes to have a fine dining experience or a more relaxed dinner, and how wine is being taken seriously regardless of the concept of the restaurant."

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