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Biggest wine suppliers to Sweden: Italy and South Africa

Italian wines overtook South African in 2012 as most popular

During four years South Africa has been the best selling wine supplier country to Sweden. In 2012 they had to hand over the top spot to Italy. Sales of Italian wines increased strongly in 2012. Swedes bought 20% more wine from Italy in 2012 than the previous year. At the same time, South Africa wine producers lost 9% of sales.

The top three countries were:

  1. Italy
  2. South Africa
  3. Australia

So suddenly and dramatically Italy took the lead as the country that is the biggest supplier to Swedes increasingly wine thirsty throats. (However, it should be noted that the statistics cover sales at the monopoly retail stores run by Systembolaget. Curiously, sales at Systembolaget accounts for only around 50% of alcohol consumption in Sweden.)

Top five countries

Ever since Spain fell down to number 4 in 2007 the top three countries have been South Africa (in the lead until 2012), Italy and Australia.

France seems to have a permanent booking to the number 5 spot.

  • Spain
  • France

After the top five the list is stubbornly static:

  • Chile
  • USA
  • Germany
  • Argentina
  • Portugal
  • Hungary

There are a few changes from year to year in the exact order and sometimes Hungary replaces Portugal as number 10.

The big dominate

The top three countries account for around 50% of all wine sales. The distribution changes a bit between the top three but the total is quite stable. There is possibly a slight tendency to an increasing domination.

If we take the top ten countries the domination is total. The top ten account for 95% all wine sales.

It’s bag-in-box that makes a difference

Bag in Box wines at Systembolaget

Bag in Box wines at Systembolaget, copyright BKWine Photography

The most important influencer, perhaps the only important factor, of the top sales statistics are the bag in box sales. Bag in box (“box wines” in Sweden) accounts for more than 60% of all wine sales in Sweden!

A success in the BiB sector can have an enormous impact.

A wine called Castelforte Appassimento went from basically no sales in 2011 to 2.44 million litres in 2012.

(Castelforte Appassimento is an “amarone style” wine, what must not be called a “baby amarone”, or a “mini-amarone” made with the appassimento method, drying of the grapes. How a wine can be made with that labour and time consuming method and sold to the consumer for only around 5 euros is a mystery.)

Another newcomer on the bag-in-box listing is Il Barone Rosso that went from almost nothing to 1.2 million litres in 2012. It also happens to be the cheapest BiB on sale in Sweden at 129 kr for three litres (equivalent to around 3.50 euro per bottle).

Those two taken together make up almost 2% of all wine sales in Sweden and represent half of the increase in sales of Italian wine.

You can find a more thorough analysis in the Swedish version of this article (use Google Translate!).

Here are the details:

Top 10 countries supplying wine to Sweden, sales excluding fortified wines, 2012

  Country 2012 Change (%) market share
1 Italy 39 776 164 19,9 % 21,0 %
2 South Africa 33 995 144 -8,8 % 17,9 %
3 Australia 21 756 770 -6,3 % 11,5 %
4 Spain 20 912 695 -3,6 % 11,0 %
5 France 18 187 210 4,3 % 9,6 %
6 Chile 13 699 139 5,8 % 7,2 %
7 USA 12 214 523 12,7 % 6,4 %
8 Germany 8 154 073 -1,2 % 4,3 %
9 Argentina 5 559 934 -4,1 % 2,9 %
10 Portugal 5 192 798 4,0 % 2,7 %
11 Hungary 4 037 273 -5,1 % 2,1 %
12 New Zealand 1 570 336 12,0 % 0,8 %
13 Bulgaria 1 539 248 -4,2 % 0,8 %
14 Swedish brands 773 703 34,7 % 0,4 %
15 International 726 183 7,7 % 0,4 %
16 Austria 690 835 5,1 % 0,4 %
17 Romania 280 064 2,6 % 0,1 %
18 Other 522 352 -11,1 % 0,3 %
19 Other 112 372 -63,2 % 0,1 %
20 Other 58 964 2,0 % 0,0 %
Total (litre) 189 759 777 2,0 %

(What the difference is between the three ”Other” is unclear. Equally what is meant with “international”. Probably it means with no specific country as origin. “Swedish brands” probably means any wine made in Sweden, be it from grapes grown in Sweden or in other countries.)

Top 10 countries supplying wine to Sweden, sales excluding fortified wines, 2009-2012

  2012 2011 2010 2009
1 Italy South Africa South Africa South Africa
2 South Africa Italy Italy Italy
3 Australia Australia Australia Australia
Top 3, share 49,9 % 50,3 % 51 % 50,9 %
4 Spain Spain Spain Spain
5 France France France France
6 Chile Chile Chile Chile
7 USA USA Germany Germany
8 Germany Germany USA USA
9 Argentina Argentina Argentina Argentina
10 Portugal Portugal Hungary Hungary
Top 10, share 94,5 % 91,7 % 94,3 % 94,1 %
Total, all countries (litres) 189 759 777 186 038 877 182 471 261 175 819 191
Change year on year 2 % 2 % 3,8 % 9,3 %

Top 10 countries supplying wine to Sweden, sales excluding fortified wines, 2005-2008

  2008 2007 2006 2005
1 South Africa Australia Spain Spain
2 Italy South Africa Italy Italy
3 Australia Italy South Africa South Africa
Top 3, share 48,4 % 47,6 % 46,4 % 47,9 %
4 Spain Spain Australia Australia
5 France France France France
6 Chile Chile Chile Chile
7 USA USA USA USA
8 Germany Germany Germany Germany
9 Argentina Argentina Hungary Hungary
10 Hungary Portugal Portugal Portugal
 
Top 10, share 94,5 % 96,7 % 94,1 % 94,6 %
Total, all countries (litres) 160 853 533 154 020 416 145 265 930 137 657 761
Change year on year 4,5 % 6 % 5,5 %

This post is also available in: Swedish

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