And why it is important who the wine importers are
You may have noticed that we are trying to keep track of all the wine importers in Sweden. We probably have the most updated and extensive list of wine importers there is.
For people outside Sweden this is perhaps mainly interesting if you are a wine producers. Then you have a long list of people you can contact if you want to sell your wines in Sweden.
For people in Sweden this takes on a totally different significance. Sweden is a monopoly market for alcohol retail (not for importation). There is only one shop: Systembolaget. Unfortunately the Systembolaget selection is not all that interesting for a wine enthusiast. It tends to focus on volume brands with some international recognition or designed specifically for the market. And on internationally famous luxury wines. Smaller producers in a moderate price range have difficulties “getting in”.
This is where the importers come in play. As a consequence of Sweden joining the EU some years back an importer can request any of his wines to be sold in Systembolaget shops. (Thank you EU!) This is very different from Systembolaget’s own range. Their own selection they publicise, they present to journalist, they display on the shop shelves etc. Wines that an importer requests to be listed are only presented rather anonymously in Systembolaget’s online catalogue (no bottle shot, no specification or information about the wine etc). In practice, for these wines the only function that Systembolaget plays is as a delivery point and to receive the payment from the consumer.
This range of wines that are listed and available on request by the importers is often referred to as “the on-order range” (“beställningssortimentet”).
This is where wine lovers can find the really interesting wines.
But the only way to know about these wines and to find information about them is from the importers web sites, mailing lists etc.
This is why it is very important for Swedish wine enthusiasts to know about the wine importers, and why we make great efforts to keep our Big List of Swedish Wine Importers up to date.
We update it regularly and are grateful for any tips on new interesting importers.
Here are the latest additions:
The focus is on Portugal with a small number of producers in Douro, Vinho Verde, Dão, and Alentejo. Organic / biodynamic in some cases. www.winea.se
Run since 2012 by three wine enthusiasts. www.agentclay.se
Top Note Wine
Primarily small producers, from several different countries. www.topnotewine.com
Mission Wines and Spirits
Sisterc of the beer importer Brewery International Sweden AB. “A vibrant assortment that follows the trends in the wine world”. missionws.se
Wines from Catalonia in eastern Spain and Galicia to the west. Both an importer (via Göteborgs Vinhus) and “distance seller” (via Gassås Wine). winestories.se
The Wine Collective
“A creative company with a modern approach” (not sure what this means). Spain, New Zealand, France, South Africa, Italy… www.twscollective.se
“Leading edge wines from the Italian heel” from Negroamaro, Primitivo and more. www.kaffak.se
Focus on Piedmont. Some from Tuscany. Both importer and “distance seller” (internet merchant). www.wine-ipass.se
One of Denmark’s largest importers founded in 1880. Since 2004 also on the Swedish market. ottosuenson.dk
France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Austria. Mostly to restaurants, but also to private individuals. www.pompette.se
Mainly to restaurant but also via Systembolaget to private individuals. Mainly France, plus Italy, Spain, Germany. dryckesbutiken.se
There you have the latest charge of new wine importers.
They are now on our Big List of Swedish Wine Importers. And if you are interested in the Swedish online wine retailers / distance sellers who sell wine directly to the consumer (totally bypassing the monopoly; thank you again EU!), you can find the list of the link.
Is anyone missing, do send us an email!
This is the future for Swedish wine lovers (at least until the monopoly disappears). It is via these private, greedy, irresponsible (if you believe Systembolaget’s information about the Swedish wine market) private entrepreneurs that people can find really interesting wines.
This post is also available in: Swedish