Our business idea from the start was to make it easier for wine lovers in Sweden to find and buy the best value wines on the market, and this idea took us to Spain.
Millions of Swedes ask themselves every week, what should we eat for the weekend and what wine should we buy?
Globally, Sweden has a very high standard of alimentary products, raw products and keen awareness when it comes to food, but regarding wine, many Swedes actually drink wines that are not sold at all in other countries because of the lesser quality. Something that is remarkable as Sweden has the second highest alcohol tax in the world – it stands to reason that we should be more critical about what we drink than anyone else..
How and where to find the most affordable wines was a fundamental and important question when we started seven years ago, so important that we felt that we had to try to do something more, something different from what the traditional importers who buy from their offices in Östermalm, Stockholm, and therefore, we took an office in Spain.
The wine trade in Sweden
Today, Systembolaget offers thousands of wines, the online retailers even more, so how do you know which affordable wines are really good?
Many people google reviews and recommendations from wine critics. Today, wine critics play a very important role both for consumers and producers, and if you first look at which country most people are currently talking about, it is actually Spain. The country with the largest cultivated wine area in the world is now seeing a revolution with new innovative winemakers who compete with the classic and already known producers. Together they are currently developing the country’s wine production faster than winemakers in all other countries.
One of the most famous and influential critics, James Suckling, says in his last year’s report: “Spain stands atop the world of premium wine with a laser focus on drinkability and gastronomic consonance“.
If we consider the price/quality ratio and the compatibility of so many Spanish wines with different dishes, then the country is in a class of its own.
The difficult thing about buying the best wines is not finding them, but getting access to them.
Hundreds of millions more people drink wine today compared to 20-25 years ago and the influence of big international wine critics recommending a particular wine is enormous. Within a few days following a favourable review and good rating, buyers start calling and booking the largest possible volume, so it’s important to be there and have personal contacts if you want to participate in the quota that takes place every year.
Together with selected wine experts in Spain, we have tried many of the best-selling wines in Sweden, especially boxed wines, and they are surprised at how poorly rated the wines are. When we then explained how much the wines cost in Sweden, some just shook their heads. Unfortunately it is the least quality wines that the big importers make hundreds of millions from, so when you start a wine business today, you have to make the decision if you do it to make as much money as possible and make shareholders happy, or if you do it to sell the most affordable good wine.
Scandeat Food & Beverage Group has an office in Madrid and we have probably driven on more dusty country roads and visited more Bodegas than most other Nordic wine retailers since the start of our Spanish wine adventure seven years ago. During these seven years we have been active; many good and personal relationships have been built and today we therefore have access to wines from some of the absolute most inspiring winemakers.
Scandeat’s goal is to be able to deliver some of Sweden’s best and most affordable wines every month. Out of hundreds of wines that we try every year, we only choose to send the most outstanding 10-15 to Sweden, so we will never be able to offer lots of different wines in our online store or to our restaurant customers, but we will always offer unique wines that stand out in their region.
Our philosophy is that when we choose quality over quantity, we may be doomed to make less money, but the work we do every day becomes that much more rewarding!