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wine in Scandinavia

My husband and I will be visiting Denmark, Sweden and Norway in May. We are wine drinkers who are wondering whether we will be able to afford our daily bottle while over there. When visiting other places in Europe we usually find inexpensive ($5-7/bottle) and good French wine in grocery stores. Will we be so fortunate in Scandinavia? Any info. or suggestions will be appreciated. Thank you. Velda

Posted by
4569 posts

Velda,
In Sweden, you cannot buy wine in grocery stores. You can only buy wine in the state run liquor store which is called systembolaget or Systemet for short. The only alcohol sold in grocery stores is light beer. Hours for the systemet are limited (usually until about 7pm on weekdays, 1pm on Saturday and closed Sundays ... hours vary depending on the particular store). Alcoholic beverages are taxed based on the percentage of alcohol. Wine in the systemet is more expensive than here, but still affordable (one can find a $10 bottle). A bottle of wine in a restaurant will be marked up significantly.

Most of the systemets are now self-service (meaning you can select the bottles yourself from the shelves). It used to be that stores displayed their goods behind glass. Each product had a number. You filled out an order form with the numbers and then took a queue number. When your number was called you would take your slip to the counter to be filled. I don't think there are many stores like this left.

I'm not familiar with wine prices in Denmark and Norway.

Posted by
55 posts

Dear Velda,

Wine in Norway is ferociously expensive. For a decent bottle of French wine, you're talking at least $30, and could end up paying considerably more. In a restaurant, think upwards of $100 [sic]. Again, you have to purchase wine from the state-run Vinmonopolet (Wine monopoly) shops. Beer is equally as outrageous, with one pint costing between $8-12.

Do remember, however, that Norway is not part of the EU, and as such, it is possible to buy duty free, meaning that it can be very cheap indeed to buy alcohol on your way in and out of the country. (I'm not sure if this is possible at land borders).

Mark

Posted by
55 posts

Dear Velda,

Wine in Norway is ferociously expensive. For a decent bottle of French wine, you're talking at least $30, and could end up paying considerably more. In a restaurant, think upwards of $100 [sic]. Again, you have to purchase wine from the state-run Vinmonopolet (Wine monopoly) shops. Beer is equally as outrageous, with one pint costing between $8-12.

Do remember, however, that Norway is not part of the EU, and as such, it is possible to buy duty free, meaning that it can be very cheap indeed to buy alcohol on your way in and out of the country. (I'm not sure if this is possible at land borders).

Mark

Posted by
55 posts

Dear Velda,

Wine in Norway is ferociously expensive. For a decent bottle of French wine, you're talking at least $30, and could end up paying considerably more. In a restaurant, think upwards of $100 [sic]. Again, you have to purchase wine from the state-run Vinmonopolet (Wine monopoly) shops. Beer is equally as outrageous, with one pint costing between $8-12.

Do remember, however, that Norway is not part of the EU, and as such, it is possible to buy duty free, meaning that it can be very cheap indeed to buy alcohol on your way in and out of the country. (I'm not sure if this is possible at land borders).

Mark

Posted by
70 posts

And to finalise your Scandinavian tour: Denmark, as opposed to the other Northern European countries (Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland), has no state-run alcohol monopoly retail system. Thus wine, beer and hard liquor can be bought from regular supermarkets in Denmark. A decent bottle of wine in Denmark is 40 to 50 DKK (around US$ 7 to 9). You will often see discount like three bottles for 120 DKK.

Since Sweden is an EU country, you can bring as much wine as you can drink from Denmark to Sweden, but not to Norway, as Norway is outside EU. To Norway you can bring 4 bottles of regular wine (3 litres) if you don't bring any other alcohol.

Posted by
12040 posts

"Velda, In Sweden, you cannot buy wine in grocery stores. You can only buy wine in the state run liquor store which is called systembolaget or Systemet for short. The only alcohol sold in grocery stores is light beer. Hours for the systemet are limited (usually until about 7pm on weekdays, 1pm on Saturday and closed Sundays ..."

This system sounds very familiar... just like my home state Pennsylvania, except there is NO alcohol at all in grocery stores. So if you want a preview, visit Pennsylvania before going to Scandinavia!