Jordmanen and Old Boy Wine Négociant: a destiny that was already written

Feb 16, 2021 | wine importer

Jordmånen Wine Import was founded by Jessica Mihai and Mika Snickars in October 2019. The idea took shape, after much thought and consideration, to start an import of natural wine so as to introduce to the Swedish market some vignerons that both held dear. For Jessica and Mika wine is a conduit for happiness; drinking a good wine is a euphoric sensation that transmits the same emotions as listening to one’s favourite music or enjoying a work of art.

In short for Jordmånen Wine Import the true essence of wine is the following: having a deep and expressive taste, from naturally farmed grapes and no damage to the land, just pure fermented juice with no added additives.

In their own words: “We see ourselves as part of nature: what we eat and drink influences both our health and our environment”.

This was a partnership already written, since Jessica and Mika speak our same language: everything we do must bring emotion to someone else and respect the earth and human beings since this is what is really important.

But let’s go back to their story.

             “How did your adventure begin?”

“Everything started in 2009, when our friend Emil Broome started his import company Vin & Natur. Emil used to book Mika as a DJ for concerts in his clubs in Malmo, and on those occasions we had a chance to try some of his natural wine producers. Our interest in cuisine and wine since a young age stimulated our curiosity: discovering new flavors, some delicious and some just intriguing, allowed us to become interested in natural wine.” Jessica and Mika imagine wine like a painter’s palette filled with life and color and the similitude fits just right.

             “How does the wine market work in Sweden?”

In Sweden we have a government Monopoly for alcohol that always purchased great quantities (mostly mass market and branded wines), but never evolved a real strategy: it never wanted to help developing a real wine culture around this world that was being born. Therefore me and Mika, like many young Swedes, started attending tasting events and often getting to know the natural wine producers.

             “But let’s talk about you guys again…”

A turning point for us was our 5 days visit to Georgia’s Tbilisi in 2014, when Mika was booked as a DJ for 2 concerts.

Our apartment’s host left for us a transparent bottle with wine inside made by his family. He told us about Georgian wine made in amphora without any sort of addition. The wine glowed with an amazing orange color and the taste was just unbelievable, enticing and rapturous, delicious and different. On the other side of the street stood Wino Underground, a wonderful wine bar. In those 5 days we had an unforgettable experience, tasting scores of beautiful natural wines and meeting interesting people from the world over.

Once back in Sweden they started to try and hunt for orange wines although, given the context, was almost an impossible mission, since it went pretty much against the direction of the Monopoly. However, they didn’t give up and contacted the importer Vino Gaumarjos in Stockholm, who are also shareholders of a Georgian natural winery, in order to get advice on import procedures. It was not until 2 years later that they succeeded in having the Monopoly buy their wines.

             “How did your journey into natural wine evolve?”

Our learning process about the natural wine world had of course to go through tastings of orange wines in Stockholm’s natural wine scene, places such as 19 Glas, Ambar, Wood Stockholm, Växthuset, La Colline, Paradiso, Tyge & Sessil, Cafe Nizza among others. We then discovered the Italian e-commerce Rolling Wine and we started to order regularly one bottle each of wines we never had before: this is how we first tasted the wines of Franco Terpin, which was the very first winery we began to import. His wines represented a true epiphany for us.

It is through Rolling Wine that we met Giovanni Segni, who works as Export Manager for several natural wineries, and who has now become a good friend and colleague. With him and Maximilian Melfors we organized the first Orange Wine Seminar in Stockholm at Tyge & Sessil in February 2020 and the Natural Wine Seminar in Växthuset / Trädgården in August 2020.

The second producer we added to our portfolio was Philippe Brand from Alsace, a fantastic natural vigneron working both naturally and biodynamically Alsace’s traditional local grapes, both in white and with skin contact. These two producers were for us at that moment more than enough to start our adventure as importers. However, sometimes the emotions you feel when tasting a wine cannot be denied and we decided to work with a third producer: Giorgio Nicassio from Puglia’s Cantina Giara, a jovial and lovable vigneron making delicious wines.

             “How did you know Old Boy wine négociant?”

“Giovanni brought your wines to taste and it was love at first sight: we call them our “adorable little beasts”, very different from one another. Of Hey Boy we particularly love how, with its sharp and lively acidity, it can pair very well with spicy Asian cuisine. We find Hey Boy incredibly fun and we love that it’s a sort of rosè-orange petnat (with the Chardonnay with skin contact and the Pinot Noir direct-pressed). It’s these emotions, that radiated from the chalice itself, that convinced us to add your wines to the portfolio.

             “What do you think of the négociant model?”

Oldboy is the first wine negociant that we’re working with (with the partial exception of a wine that Philippe makes in Alsace with grapes purchased in the Rhone). We really find interesting and appreciate your collaboration with Tenuta l’Armonia, an experienced and respected natural producer that gives you the opportunity to harvest and vinify the grapes from his vineyards. This is aimed at having the chance to learn from a vigneron that knows exactly what he’s doing in the vineyard and in the cellar, so that every wine will be unique. There are other producers that we’ve met that are following the same and we believe this could represent a new future for the natural wine world.

We’d like to close with some more info on Jessica and Mika.

They’re a couple who met in 2008. Since 1995 Mika has been running his vinyl shop in Stockholm, which was a regular stop for Jessica in the 90’s. He’s been DJ’ing since he was 9. Without having met each other, Mika’s music was a frequent part of Jessica’s life in Stockholm’s youth clubs, discos and the rave parties of the early 90’s. Jessica says “in a way we have the same memories even though we didn’t know each other”. Mika is still DJ’ing now and he’s been awarded the Swedish DMC in 1998.

Jessica started working as a tailor and pattern designer in haute couture, she then moved to fast fashion and worked for 7 years for H&M as pattern designer and head of quality control. She lived for 2 intense and interesting years in Hong Kong. But her spirit, partly firmly pragmatic but also a lover of all things spiritual and underground, missed something, so she moved back to Sweden. There she dedicated herself to art opening her own studio and art gallery. Eight years back her path and that of Mika crossed and the gallery and the records shop became one in the same location.

Their dream is to transform part of the gallery in a natural wine bar open until aperitivo hour, focused on tasting new wines: a small informal bar where anyone can drop by for a few glasses, which they hope to open in the Summer of 2021.

“Going into the wine business and the love for these living wines is just the natural evolution of our lifestyle, focused also on foraging wild herbs, cuisine, natural medicine, clubbing and art.

Everything is balanced and integrated and is glued together by an endless love modeled on the variations of nature.”