Success through focus on the long term
In Sweden, just making it onto the shelves of the retail monopoly is not enough. In order to remain there, dedicated and sustained work is a necessity. As an importer, good relationships with both the monopoly Systembolaget as well as various wine journalists are a must. Being perceived as a credible and serious player is also crucial, but all of this still isn’t enough. And what can you do if the majority of the wine journalists happen not to enjoy the wine you are trying to promote?
Each market presents its own set of challenges. The selling of wine in Sweden is directed by a retail monopoly and there are also many restrictions limiting what can be done in terms of marketing. It is no understatement to say that becoming listed in the assortment of the monopoly is crucial to achieve success on the Swedish market. At the same time, it’s also worth noting that products that fail to sell will lose their place in the assortment rather quickly. Mutual trust between the importer and the wine producer is therefore essential, as is developing a marketing plan which doesn’t assume that the wine will receive brilliant reviews from journalists and other critics.
The business of Terrific Wines is based on patience and a long-term focus. It takes time to establish oneself in Sweden and successfully claim a place in the minds of reviewers, consumers and the monopoly. Those who go about this with skill may accomplish the feat of having a product survive and prosper in spite of not attracting any attention from wine journalists. One such success story is provided by Terrific Wine’s cooperation with Vintage Wine Estates and particularly by the performance of the latter’s Girard wines.
In spite of the wine never gaining any ecstatic reviews by Swedish wine journalists, Girard Old Vine Zinfandel has managed to survive year after year since its launch in 2011. In fact, the wine has actually performed very well given its position in a highly competitive market segment and its price which has increased due to the appreciation of the dollar. This success has been achieved by promoting the wine at fairs across Sweden as well as at tastings arranged by Terrific Wines.
Apart from Girard Old Vine Zinfandel, Terrific Wines has also helped Vintage Wine Estates win six temporary listings over the course of two years. This has only been possible by building and maintaining a good relationship with the retail monopoly, Systembolaget, over the long term.