Nordics represent main European opportunities fo growth

Wine producers looking for growth opportunities in Europe should be thinking about Finland, Norway and Sweden, according to a report from Wine Intelligence.

The Nordics Landscapes report, published this week says: “Almost 9 in 10 adults drink wine, representing around 13 million adults across the three countries. Between a third and a half of these claim to have a ‘strong interest’ in the category.”

The combined market for wine last year was approximately 33 million cases, all of it imported, putting the Nordics as a bloc ahead of Japan in the league table of wine drinking.

While the wine markets in the three countries share many characteristics, there are marked differences between wine consumer behaviour in Finland, Norway and Sweden, states the report. Beer remains the most popular beverage in Finland and Norway, while wine is top dog in Sweden. Within the wine category, nearly 6 in 10 Swedes say they drink rosé wine, compared to just a third in Finland.

One of the main shared traits between markets are the state-controlled retail monopolies, which prevents discounting and other price-based promotions. They encourage education in the category through trained staff and well-maintained merchandising.

Nordics Landscapes project manager. Maria Troein, said: “I think it’s fair to regard Sweden, Norway and Finland as three rare good news stories in a European wine market that has been suffering for several years as a result of tax increases and economic uncertainties.”

She added: “The monopoly retail system can take some getting used to, and barriers to entry can be high. However the ultimate consumer is highly involved, willing to pay for quality, and quite brand oriented, which are characteristics that are increasingly tough to find elsewhere in Europe right now.”

The Nordics Landscapes report is published by Wine Intelligence and available from the Wine Intelligence Reports Shop: £2,500, US$4,000, Euros3,200.