‘Winemakers should be able to sell’

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Sale of alcoholic beverages is strictly controlled in Norway, but now some politicians are suggesting that local producers in rural districts should be able to sell their cider, wine and beer on site.

Venstre leader Trine Skei Grande wants farmers to be able to sell all their products, including alcoholic beverages. PHOTO: Venstre

Several farmers have tried their hand at making such products as fermented cider from their apples in Hardanger, or even wine from grapes and berries that they grow, but they’ve been frustrated by laws restricting any sales to the state-controlled liquor retailer Vinmonopolet. Despite state efforts to encourage a new line of agricultural niche products, to boost farmers’ incomes, the farmers are stymied in their own efforts.

Their potential customers can taste their products on site, but can’t buy them, and now the farmers seem to be getting some political sympathy.

“It would be unthinkable for a vineyard in France, Italy or Spain not to be allowed to sell its products,” Trine Skei Grande, head of the small Liberal Party (Venstre) told newspaper Aftenposten. “We must allow this in Norway also. It will strengthen business in the districts.”

Her party has put forward a proposal allowing on-site sales and has won support from the Conservatives and the Progress Party. The Center Party, long a booster of agricultural interests, has also said it would support such a proposal.

Skei Grande stressed that any sales would still be regulated, and taxed.

Views and News staff