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Wine Distributor and Importer Guide: Denmark

Vinaty’s guide to the Denmark market for wine distributors and importers

Wine Distributors and Importers Denmark

Let’s begin with the capital city of Copenhagen. With its passion for sustainability and high average income, Copenhagen is the third-biggest natural wine market in the world, trailing only Paris and Tokyo. Of course, it could be argued that the market for natural wines remains relatively small wherever you choose to look, but Copenhagen’s outsized slice is another curious detail, according to Wine Business International.

What sets Denmark apart from the rest of Scandinavia in wine sales? Unlike Sweden and Norway, there is little to no government involvement in the regulation of alcohol sales. The UK government website reveals how little red tape there is: not even the need to specify the composition of a blend. The market for small importers is solid in a country of 4.6 million adults, whose per capita wine consumption is among the top ten countries in the world. As you might expect, however, more than eight tenths of wine is distributed by multinational companies through their supermarket connections – that’s according to Wine Business International. On-trade sales lag far behind, at less than 10%, with online sales about the same. 

The figures from Danmarks Statistik couldn’t be clearer: the Danish market is dominated by red wine. If you’d asked a Danish person for red or white in 2017, they’d have chosen a red more than two thirds of the time. While rosé is grouped together with red, and must therefore be selling strongly, port is a category apart. Its association with luxury hasn’t fared it well, with a 45% drop in sales this decade reported by Wine Business International. With a 20% increase in the past decade in sparkling wines, it’s a good period for everything from Champagne to Cava. Perhaps the most important thing to know is that import prices are increasing to almost DKK 23 per litre, that is to say, two krone more than in 2016. While it remains small for the moment, Condé Nast Traveller has forecast significant growth for Denmark’s domestic wine market. This is partly a result of climate change, gradually pushing wine-growing regions to the north.

Asking yourself where all that wine comes from? It’s the usual suspects, according to the UK Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Italy leads in foreign imports, only millilitres ahead of France. Next comes Chile and Spain, both with around €50million of imports; then, perhaps surprisingly, Germany and the UK, showing the importance of proximity in times of increased travel costs. Despite flatlining of consumption, the Danish market is expected to grow annually by around 7% according to Wine Business International, making it a solid choice for any investment. And in a country where wine-drinking correlates with better health, better quality of food, and fewer cigarettes smoked, why not support them? The Danish market has the Vinaty seal of approval for any small distributor.