This is the opinion of Pierre E. Marchés, of the Vinmonopolet wine monopoly of Norway, who recalls that wine advertising campaigns are forbidden in the country itself, hence we must take profit of the visits made to trade fairs and other trips made by the importers and the media in order to really boost spreading of the information
Pierre E. Marchés, Product Manager at the Norwegian government-owned wine monopoly Vinmonopolet, will be visiting this edition of FENAVIN for the first time, this with the intention of choosing wines from very different origins and with a wide-ranging variety in prices. In order to make this selection he will have to take into account, as he already explained in an interview with the organization, that many of their clients have ample knowledge and also that others are loyal to certain regions and styles, while others still prefer to investigate and find lesser known wines. "Their expectations must also be taken into account –he points out-, therefore, I will be looking for surprising wines, as these are the wines that can create market opportunities where none seem to exist".
The opinion of the Norwegian consumer on Spanish wine is that it is good wine, "as Spain is considered to be one of the main producers of quality red wine, although their opinion might also be more updated now", he assures.
Along this line and to promote this knowledge of Spanish wine, Marchés recommends that the producers of Spanish wine invite Norwegian importers to try their wines during the trade fairs and to then really trust in what they say, in their point of view of the Norwegian market, an invitation that he would also extend to the journalists and sommeliers to explain in an approachable manner all that they need to know about Spanish wine, which is, undoubtedly, the best way to also reach the Norwegian consumer.
The best known wine growing regions also require that additional effort in promotion in Norway
"He also recommends making contact with the ICEX offices in Norway, as they also have a lot of knowledge of our market", he affirms, apart from proposing participation in organized tasting sessions in Norway"s major cities, as advertising, promotions and in store events are not allowed in Norway, hence this would represent their main opportunity to really have knowledge of all the components of the sector".
Marchés specifies that these types of actions would not only be necessary for the lesser known regions, "but also for the main regions, markets of which appear to be established and secure, as even these should continue working on their image and their brands".
In the opinion of this consumer motivator of the Norwegian monopoly, it would be important that producers establish strategies that are designed in collaboration with the wholesalers, "although, as I have already commented, education and awareness could also help to broaden the market shares".
In as far as the trends in consumption of Spanish wine among the Norwegians are concerned, Marchés points out that "many of our customers are loyal to Spain"s more renowned designations, such as Rioja, and also to the traditional styles of the country". Despite this, and according to a recent survey made by TNS Gallup in 2014, " a considerable amount of customers are, however, willing to purchase wine that they do not know from before and also wine from regions that they have never heard about. They do not have a predictable purchasing pattern and they expect to find a dynamic and varied assortment. As a result of this the interest shown for regions such as Méntrida, Manchuela, Ribeira Sacra and Bierzo, to just name a few, though still marginal, has been increasing in the last couple of years".
On the other hand he highlights that "bag-in-box" wine sales still represent more than 55% of the volume and most of it comes from Levante. "Our customers –he asserts- are now exacting better quality and a wider assortment at somewhat higher price points in that pertaining to this type of packaging".
Familiarity with the product is the major factor in the purchase decision in Norway
With regards to the decisive factor that marks the Norwegian consumer"s choice, Marchés also remits to the TNS Gallup survey, according to which familiarity with the product is the basic factor (58%), while price is third in importance (51%) and the region would be sixth (39%). "Studies on sales that we have made –he details- corroborate these conclusions, although they indicate that the origin means a great deal more to our customers than we actually thought. The importance of price in the purchasing decision might be the second factor in a choice that is based on the origin of the wine. And without a doubt knowledge is of utmost importance".
When asked about consumption of wine in his country, he explains that in the year 2014 almost 67 million liters of wine were sold (including sparkling wines) in the Vinmonopolet stores.
Consumption of wine in Norway has also slightly increased, going from 65 million liters in the year 2011 to 68 million liters last year. "Specifically, sales of products which are light in color, body and alcohol have steadily increased, while sales of red wine have somewhat decreased. This trend is mostly observed in the major cities, but then, of course, these are also the cities that set the pace for the rest of the country", he concludes.