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English wineries should be targeting Scandinavia

English and Welsh wineries who have yet to conquer the Scandinavian market are missing a trick, as demand for British tipples continues to grow, with Norway alone responsible for around 25% of exports.

English wineries should be targeting Scandinavia

Exports continue to make up a pretty slim fraction of UK wine sales, at just 7% of total sales in 2022, but the proportion is growing, led predominantly by these Scandinavian markets.

Exports represented just 4% of total UK wine sales in 2021, but even this was a 21% jump on figures from the previous year. Scandinavia was also the leading market, and more specifically Norway, which alone saw 85% increase in sales in 2021.

Norway is now responsible for around 25% of WineGB’s overseas sales, with more British producers exporting there than ever before. Norway is the world’s biggest importer of wine grown and made in the UK, with the nation’s monopoly Vinmonopolet reporting retail sales of 135,456 bottles in 2022.

UK wines are also outperforming general wine sales in Norway, Ned Awty, interim CEO of WineGB told the drinks business, despite challenging market conditions. “We are seeing strong demand that looks set to increase as awareness of the quality of English wines rises,” he said.

English wineries should be targeting Scandinavia

Four wines produced by Kent-based Simpsons’ Wine Estate ranked in Norway’s top 10 best performing cuvées over the 12 months to the end of May 2023, new data from the Monopoly has revealed.

Simpsons’ has been exporting wines to Norway for four years, with the estate’s still wines showing particular promise. Its exports to Norway have grown tenfold between 2019 and 2022 and Simpsons’ is currently the second largest English wine exporter to Norway behind Nyetimber.

Featuring in the top 10 are three of its still wines – Simpsons’ Railway Hill Rosé, Simpsons’ Gravel Castle Chardonnay and Simpsons’ Rabbit Hole Pinot Noir – and Simpsons’ Flint Fields Blanc de Noirs sparkling.

Charles Simpson, co-founder of Simpsons’ Wine Estate, described the nation as “the most developed country in the world right now when it comes to the acceptance of English wines”.

Lighter style reds, rosé and sparkling wines are popular with Norwegian producers, “which is a good match for English wines”, Awty said. “We are seeing increased demand for high quality sparkling wines which provides high value for many of our producers, which is why Norway will remain an important market for many years to come.”

WineGB is also seeing growing demand from other Scandinavian countries, “with requests from Swedish and Finnish buyers to show our wines in their markets,” Awty told db.

Busi Jacobsohn in East Sussex is shifting its focus to Sweden, having already conquered the Norwegian market, exporting wines there since 2019. The winery is more focused than most on overseas sales, with exports making up 40-50% of total sales, and its first orders from Sweden were released in June.

Co-founder Susanna Busi Jacobsohn told db she believes that Scandinavian producers are “well-informed and quite knowledgeable” about wine, with a thirst for products from new origins.

“Realising that the quality often outperforms their expectations has only increased the hype around English sparkling in those markets,” she said.

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