With Scandinavia we come to the first “regional” rather than single market.
The Nordic countries represent something of a European powerhouse with a combined market of 4,918,560 bottles. Nearly half of this, 2,421,297 bottles, is accounted for by Sweden, which grew 6% in 2011 to over 2.4m bottles.
However, there has been strong growth from Finland and Norway too, both of which grew 15% last year to 803,195 bottles and 791,076 bottles respectively. Denmark grew rather poorly at 1% but it is nudging the one million bottles mark at 902,992.
What is important though is that they are, in the words of the CIVC’s Thibault le Mailloux, “economically healthy”.
“The Nordic countries are a new frontier,” he declares, “with a wealthy population and an interest in wine and food.”
Laurent D’Harcourt of Pol Roger even adds that the Norwegian monopoly (Vinmopolet) sells more vintage Pol Roger than simple Pol Roger brut.
Tax remains problematic for the region however and all alcohol in Sweden is sold through the state run Systembolaget. Swedish taxes for example levy SEK22 (a little over £2) on each litre of wine and there are further VAT taxes of 25%.
In Denmark there is a higher charge for sparkling wines amounting to €16 and 25% VAT too, while Finland is the most expensive of the lot with an excise rate of €28 and 23% VAT.
Despite this the enthusiasm for fine wine is undiminished and with cuisine that matches the likes of Champagne and German whites very well.
Scandinavia is sophisticated, stable and represents Western Europe’s strongest-growing market bloc.
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