The editorial staff of the Staff Portal had heard talk of Uppsala University having its own wine. Is that right, Gabriella Almqvist, Deputy Academy Steward at the University Administration and matron to the Vice-Chancellor?

“Yes, that’s right,” says Almqvist. “Uppsala University’s wine, Vinum Universitatis, has been available since the early 1990s in a sparkling, white, red or dessert wine version.

The wine was created by former Vice-Chancellor Stig Strömholm. He tasked Chief Legal Officer Marianne Andersson with finding a partnership with a French winery willing to put our University’s label on a wine. Strömholm felt that Uppsala University should have its own wine, just like the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. Universen magazine featured a report on this in volume 6 from 1992, for those who want to read more and still have the magazine.

Wine packages for different tastes and foods

In 2008, the University replaced both the vineyard and the country. Nowadays, the wine is made by the Bonazzi family winery in Valpolicella, Italy. The change of vineyard was not only a matter of simplifying procedures and ensuring a smooth collaboration, the University also wanted to find a package of wines that would suit different dishes along with wines that many people like. Valpolicella wines are popular and don’t stand out too much.

“The wine should suit different types of food, but also be able to be poured in large quantities at major banquets where it may be in the glasses for a long time before drinking,” notes Almqvist. “This limits us, of course, because it places specific demands on the wine. Nevertheless, this is not an expensive wine.”

The University’s label

Naturally, Vinum Universitatis is not a wine that can be found at Systembolaget.

“This wine with its own label is only served at Uppsala Castle during academic ceremonies and/or to guests in the Vice-Chancellor’s suite,” continues Almqvist. “Those who want to buy a bottle can of course do so through the vineyard or through a wine importer, but then the wine will not bear Uppsala University’s label.”

But is there any way for an ordinary employee to taste the wine?

“Subject to availability, employees can attend these castle banquets for a cover charge and get the chance to try Vinum Universitatis that way,” concludes Almqvist. Formal attire such as a tuxedo or long dress/skirt is required to participate, however.