We interview Magnus Reuterdahl, a wine blogger and a wine communicator from Sweden. He writes in his own blogs Magnus Reuterdahls vinblogg in Swedish and Testimony of a Wine Junkie in English. He also writes for a few on-line magazines such as DinVinguide.se.
Please write a short paragraph on your experience in the wine sector and your current position
Im a social media junkie, Im a #winelover and I like to write and travel. So I do this as much as possible. In Sweden I try to go to as many tastings as possible. I travel quite a lot as a blogger mainly in Europe. A lot of the trips goes through networks or communities such as #winelover (winelover.co) or via organizations such as CWW (Circle of Wine Writers), consorzios or organizations such as DWCC (formerly known as EWBC) Fermenti Digitali etc. These tastings, the wines I buy and the travels are the foundation for my wine writing on my blogs, facebook, twitter, Instagram etc. Look for the facebook-group #winelover and on twitter as @reuterdahl
My main job is as an archaeologist, being on different locations most of the time I needed to keep busy so I started blogging about wine in 2007. I did this as a way of keeping track of where my wine journey took me and as a way of learning by doing (tasting and writing). A big part in understanding wine is the ability to describe it, as you describe it you force yourself to create taste-memories, to connect flavors, to use taste and memory and to understand why it taste the way it does. It is also a way of communicating with others with similar mind, getting information, new contacts, new ideas inspiration.
How do you view the potential of Italian wine in your country in terms of market potential?
Sweden has a monopoly which makes the Swedish market a good one if you managed to get your foot (wine) in. A problem is that it is difficult and most of the wines that do manage to get a placing on the shelves are from rather big corporations as they often need to be able to deliver wine for 400+ stores for a duration of 12 months.
Wine sales in Sweden are climbing and Italy is the biggest markets. About 28 % of all wines sold in Sweden comes from Itlay. The monopoly sells about 200 million liters of wine/year which is equivalent with 28 liters per Swede over 20 years. In 2013 there was slight trend that cheap wines lost a few percent and wines over 10 euros gained a few.
Looking at Italian wines there are three areas that I believe are best known by the general public: Valpolicella, Chianti and Piedmont. Especially Amarone, Ripasso and appassimento are doing very well among the big consumer groups. When it comes to Italian wines the reds do very well in Sweden and in general eco wines is a big trend.
How do you think Italian producers can improve their performance in your country? What do you suggest?
I would hope we get more Italian wines to Sweden. Lately Ive been tasting great stuff from Lugana, Bardolino, FriuliVenezia Giulia and Siciliy, I would love to more of these in Sweden. As I mentioned the eco-trend is big, natural wines, biodynamic wines etc. is also growing.
I think the big brands are doing a good job in Sweden, they are visible, they have a good selection of products and there is lot of information out there about them. As we have a monopoly its not easy to get into the market without a good importer, that does not mean a big importer but someone who believes in your brand and wants to work with it. A problem I often notice is that small producers are sucked into big importers where they often get lost in the masses.
I think information is important. It is important to have available information on-line, to have information in wine-apps, that the information is up to date. People bring their phone to the stores and restaurants, they search the brands or reviews before buying them if youre not found theres a big risk that they pick something else.
It is also important to create visible and recognizable brands. The consorzios have a big part to play here, when I think of a region or a type of wine it should be easy to understand what Im having in my hand, is this an X or Y most costumers wants to feel smart, to feel that they know what they are buying. It is also very important to look on the market and to who you want to reach; is this for a winelover or is it for an everyday consumer.
What do you think of the quality/price ratio of Italian winest?
Italy brings lots of good value wines both in the high end market and on the everyday market. Then again wines are more expensive in Sweden than most places in Europe, but there are some great finds to made even in Sweden and they often comes from the less known areas. What I would love to see is more wines from more these smaller regions not just the big ones!
What qualities do you personally appreciate most in Italian wines?
Italian wines comes in so many forms and grapes, you can feel the regionality in the wines, you can feel the history in the wines. Its a never ending story you go to a region in Italy or buy a bottle of Italian wine and you fall in love, then you go to the next one and you fall in love again. Most wines are very food driven and with the local cuisine even quite easy cheap wines can make miracles.
Please mention the potential of which white varieties and which red varieties do best in your market
In the red ones I would guess blends of different sorts , often with primitivo sangiovese and international grapeson on the cheaper side and at the moment corvina on the high end market, though wines from Piedmont and Chianti also does well, especially amongst people who know wine.
On the white side I would guess trebbiano is the biggest grape, I guess glera might be coming along as Prosecco seems to do all right.
Personally I would love to see more good wines made on Zibibbo, Grillo, Catarrato, Turbiana, Friulano, etc etc and Etna-wines, and wines from Umbria and Marche I could go on for a while J
What is your advice to Italian producers looking to enter your market?
Find an importer thats really into your wine, build communities on-line and do an outstanding wine. Dont only look to the Monopoly there are other options such as : restaurants, internet-shops, wine clubs etc.
What do you think about social network for promotion of wine?
I think it is important and will be even more so with new markets coming in. The generations growing up are being born with smart phones in their hands, and everyon is being more and more used to buy on-line. I think its important to use it but use it smart, to really communicate not only doing commercials and finding the right communicators who will love your story and your wine.
There will be big stores like Tesco or the Monopoly in the future as well, there will be consumers that dont really care but are they the one you want or do you want #winelover consumers that do care, if so get out there and show us your wine!
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