Why is Sweden a special market for wine? Because of the Systembolaget

Quevedo Rose Port in the Summer launching sect...
Image by quevedoports via Flickr

For several reasons Sweden is a very special market for wine:

  • State control of ALL retail alcohol sales of over 3.5% ABV
  • high taxes on alcohol beverages
  • restriction in the number of brands and types of wines listed on the shelves
  • new launches of wine only if Systembolaget (Swedish wine retail monopoly) wants
  • offers to the Systembolaget have to be submitted through a local importer
  • different types of shops, some very small in which you have to ask a member of the staff to bring you the bottles you want
  • any kind of discounts are forbidden
  • all products have the same treatment, so the order of the wines on the shelves are random, in some places a wine can be on the top, while in others on the bottom;
  • sales representatives from the importer/ winery are not allowed to talk to managers of Systembolaget shops

Port Wine section in a Systembolaget shop in Sweden Well, these are the rules. It is not easy to get your wines there, only one wine for each category/ type is listed, for instance Douro Reserve or White Port. Actually, only this year, for the first time, we had one of our wines listed in the Swedish Systembolaget shops. There was a tender for listing Rose Port during the Summer. As winners of this tender, Quevedo Rose Port was the first Rose Port ever to be sold on the Swedish market. I was proud of that and couldn’t miss this chance to take a photo of our Port on the shelf. So before the end of the listing period (May- August) there I was, in a Systembolaget shope in Stockholm. I’m not sure if it is allowed to take photos of the stores. I didn’t dare to ask, but if in the next weeks you don’t see any photo here, it is because Systembolaget asked me to remove them.


Port Wine section in a Systembolaget shop in Sweden

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