Wine frenzy around Burgundy release

This week in Bergen, around 20 people spent a whole night (during a coastal storm!!) standing in front of an alcohol shop called Vinmopolet in order to have a chance to buy some Burgundy bottles sold in limited amount. A couple was even paid to wait there for three weeks before the release. But, like, why?

First and foremost, let me explain to you a little bit about how to get alcohol such as wine in Norway. Everything over 4.7% of alcohol is sold in a State-owned shop called Vinmopolet, present mostly in big and medium cities in Norway. It’s open at specific hours on week days (10 am til 6 pm) and on Saturdays (10 am until 3 or 4 pm) and offers a pretty good selection of liquors, spirits, beers, ciders and wines from all over the world, with a strong focus on France and Italy for the wine although the selection also opens to global trends. You need to show your ID if you’re under 25 years old at all times, 20 years old being the legal limit if you want to buy stronger drinks than wine, beer, cider and spritz for example.

To sum it up, it can be a little complicated. This situation is often the case in Protestant countries like in Scandinavia, that went through quite a few attempts at simply banning alcohol by the authorities. To find a compromise, alcohol sales are strictly framed by law, from shops to specialized shops through bars and restaurants where you have to follow a ton of rules. That doesn’t prevent Norwegians from getting wasted, but like really, REALLY drunk when they can. Of course, you have people with no control over their drinking all over the world, but here there is also a cultural aspect to it. With little to no education towards drinking responsibly (if there is such a thing!) and for pleasure, all the interest goes towards drinking fast to get smashed that one time you go out in the week. A Frog in the Fjord’s author explains it too by the need of socializing, people being quite shy on a sober mood and needing alcohol to be able to meet and talk to people. From my experience with the Viking, I can say that it’s very accurate!

Therefore, I can’t really say that most Norwegians have a strong knowledge of alcohol in general, or wine in particular. You meet these foodies who are really interested, visit places where they learn about food and wine in Europe and actually care when you introduce them to a specific new taste, but it’s rare enough to be noted.

From Nation Master. Norway (number 32) is still way behind France (number 1) in the world’s wine consumption per capita!

This frenzy around the announced release from Vinmopolet of a limited amount of specific Burgundy bottles (some affordable, most super pricy) is due, mostly, to the fact that Burgundy is one of the most famous wine regions in the world. It also has a limited production capacity, which adds to the prestige and status of the buyer to put their hands on a limited edition bottle. Admittedly, for most of the people who waited in line (or paid someone to do so!!!!), it’s not really about the taste. It’s like, « Hey, I can afford the time and money for this! ». Quite tacky, but alright.

One other reason is that when it’s sold to specialized shops abroad, the price is limited due to the shop not being allowed to make a profit margin out of it. While online, the prices rocket fast, and hard. So getting your hand on a pricy bottle in Norway could lead you to make a sweet profit by selling it to a buyer in another country, for example. Now, that is quite smart. But please, someone, get me a glass of one of those bottles!

Yes, I do LOVE wine, but like, I’m French so I’m allowed.

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