Sweden Sees Rise in Wine Sales


The Nordic North is seeing palates across the country warming to wine.
According to a report released by Euromonitor International earlier this year, Sweden saw a two percent increase in wine sales in 2013. Increasing sales of bag-in-box wines and a growing wine culture are two factors in the increase, the report said.
The country's wine drinkers are focused on value, polarizing sales between premium wines and budget-positioned wines, the report said.
“This trend reflects the growing number of wine connoisseurs in the country, but also that wine has penetrated a broader segment of the population where consumers are less focused on sophistication and more on low-priced alternatives.
Three companies led the way in sales, although none of the trio held more than a 13 percent share of the market, the report noted. 
The two best-selling brands of wine in the country Umbala, a Cabernet Sauvignon-Shiraz-Pinotage mix from South Africa's Mare Magnum; and Zumbali Chenin Blanc, a South African bag-in-box offering.
Other strong performers in the Nordic country were United States-based Oak Ridge Winery's SomeZin, which, according to the report, was “the second most popular red wine in Sweden” in 2013. 
The Euromonitor predicts the country's interest in wine will contribute to six percent growth in volume by 2018.
“A growing number of consumers are increasingly interested and knowledgeable about wine, which in particular will help drive sales of premium products,” the report said.
The country's interest in wine has extended to its winemakers. 
In a recent interview with Reuters, Goran Amnegard, winemaker at Blaxsta Vineyard near Stockholm, said the region's weather can be surprisingly hospitable for grape growing.
“There is this myth about the cold weather here, the moose and the polar bears,” Amnegard told Reuters. “We have had more or less Mediterranean summers.”
The increase in global temperatures means northern winemakers will have more of a chance in the future to plant vineyards, Amnegard predicted.
His winery's Vidal Icewine won gold medals at the 2012, 2011 and 2010 Wine World cups. 
In a blind tasting of the winery's 2009 Vidal Icewine, Master of Wine Markus Del Mongo, winner of the 1998 Best Sommelier of the World award, gave the wine a rating of 92.
“Aromatic nose with flavour reminiscent of dried apricots, lemon peel, candied orange peel and caramel, hints of grapefruit in the background,” Del Mongo's tasting notes said. “On the palate candied lemon and raisins, medium weight and very good length, crisp acidity and elegant sweetness.”

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