For the first time ever, Norwegians drank more white wine than red wine in July. Red wine has always dominated the market in Norway, but this summer’s record high temperatures for weeks on end clearly led to a change in preferences.
The numbers presented by state wine monopoly (Vinmonopolet) that controls and distributes retail sales of alcoholic beverages in Norway speak for themselves: It sold 2.8 million liters of white and sparkling wines in July, compared to “only” 2.5 million liters of red wine.
“If we combine sales of all the ‘lighter’ products like white, rosé and sparkling wine and cider and compare them to sales of the ‘darker’ products like red wine, fruit wines and aromatic wines, we see that sales of the lighter products amounted to 57 percent, while the darker stood for 43 percent,” Halvor Bing Lorentzen, communications director at Vinmonopolet, told news bureau NTB.
“This is not usual,” Lorentzen added. “Last July the sales were 50/50, but if we go further back in time, the share of white wines was even lower.”
He thinks the reason for the relatively dramatic shift in sales patterns is clear: “The warm and sunny summer has prompted many to change their shopping patterns. The want fresher and lighter products.” The change occurred despite Norwegians’ passion for grilling outdoors in the summertime, which often involves meats like pork and beef.
Lorentzen noted, though, that food choices also changed in the summer. “We’re eating more seafood and shellfish, and then it’s better with white wine than red wine,” he told NTB.
Red wine sales at Vinmonopolet declined by 11.5 percent in July compared with the same summer month last year when many Norwegians take off on holiday. Sales of rosé wine, meanwhile, rose by fully 35 percent, while white wine sales were up 13 percent and sparkling wine sales were up 12 percent. In addition come all the wine and other alcoholic beverages purchased across the border in Sweden, where prices are as much as 30 percent lower than in Norway.
Given long-term weather predictions released on Thursday, the summer wine shift may continue. State broadcaster NRK reported that climate researchers are predicting that at least the next four years will be characterized by heat waves and extreme weather. They cited “increased probability” of “intense to extreme temperatures” around the globe.