From Iceland — Sour Grapes And Stuff: Issue 5, 2014

Sour Grapes And Stuff: Issue 5, 2014

Published May 12, 2014

Sour Grapes And Stuff: Issue 5, 2014


Just a quick note of thanks: I’ve just arrived back in London after my first trip to Iceland, with which both myself and the friend with whom I was travelling have fallen totally in love. We also found Grapevine—both in print and on the web—a totally indispensable resource for our time in Reykjavik. We wouldn’t have got nearly as much out of our swift four-day trip had we not read Grapevine!By way of return, should you find yourself in need of photography then you’re very welcome to anything from my meagre offering — just drop me a line:!/index

Rob Pinney

Hi, Rob –

Someone once told us that the best way to travel was to take short trips and always leave something undone so that you’d have a reason to return. That person may have had more disposable income than we do, but nevertheless, we tell ourselves this a lot when on long-weekends and quick holidays. Anyway, we’re glad that we could be of service to you on your first visit here in Iceland, and from your lovely photos, it does look like you made the most of your time.

Come back and see us again—there’s lots left to do.

The Grapevine

Dear Grapevine,

I’m pretty new to Iceland. So, I’ve been relying a lot on your paper to keep me informed as I settle into North Atlantic living. Thanks for that.

But, I must ask, to what interpretation of the term grapevine does your name refer? I assume it must be the idiom popularized by Marvin Gaye suggesting that our news is coming from a few degrees of separation. Surely, it can’t be the literal meaning as I guess it’s rather impractical to start a vineyard here in Iceland.

But, it did get me wondering…can one successfully grow grapes in Iceland? And, if so, how (im)practical would it be? In my own (admittedly, half-assed) research, I discovered a man in Húsavik who makes and sells organic wine from berries. But, that’s different.

So, my question to you, grapevine, is whether you know of anyone who succeeds or has succeeded in making wine from grapes in this seemingly impossible agricultural landscape. And, if so, did you get a taste? Because if anyone is deserving, it must be you fine folks…

Thanks and happy grapevining!



Hey there Michael

Thanks for your letter.

As one of the founders of this magazine, I’d like to try to answer your question regarding its name.

Back in 2003, when we were trying to get this magazine started, we had a hard time finding a name for it. The first issue was coming together, publishing date closing in, but no name yet. During the weeks prior to the first publication, we had come into contact with this older gentleman, Ólafur Stephensen. Ólafur, who’s actually the last private owner of Viðey island, a former advertising mogul and a renowned jazz pianist, had taken on the task of writing our food reviews for the first few issues (under a false name, I might add). I don’t remember how exactly, but our “name for the magazine” problem came up and he came up with calling it The Grapevine, referring to the saying to hear something through the grapevine, just like in the song, but without actually referring to Marvin, Motown or CCR.

Well. We didn’t jump on that right away, but eventually we ran out of time to come up with anything better. So that was what we went for. So, the name doesn’t refer to any Icelandic grapevines, nor is its name inspired by Iceland’s lack of grapevines as such, but by our lack of ideas back in 2003.<br>


Jón Trausti Sigurðarson

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