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DRC wines on ice until fair monopoly trade is invented

>> Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Some of the world’s most expensive wines come from Domaine de la Romanée Conti in Burgundy. They can go for around 4000€. Per bottle. The Swedish monopoly Systembolaget received its allocation of the 2006 wines early 2009. They have still not been sold in the monopoly stores though. According to WOW News there is a possibility that they will be on sale later this autumn. Apparently, the monopoly explains the delay with a lack of “assured IT support”. What this means exactly is unclear but it to the launch of a new sales system that should make sure the 420 bottles that have reached Sweden can be sold “fairly and without discrimination” to the consumers.

Previous years there has been “public” uproar when it has been felt that the playing field has not been level: after long nightly queues some shops have opened the doors a few minutes before the official opening time giving those queuers an unfair advantage before those who waited in front of doors who opened on the dot. The demand for these bottles in Sweden is always greater than the supply. At the last launch all bottles were sold within 40 seconds. This is to a great extent due to that the monopoly applies a mechanic pricing formula, rather than selling wines at market prices. This results in that some of these wines are sold far under the international market price. This is likely to be even more the case this year since the 2006 DRC wines have been on the international market for quite some time. So it is an even greater risk (chance?) that this year the wines will be snapped up and rapidly exported and sold on the international market.

“At this moment we have not decided when and how the DRC wines will be sold. But given the new circumstances we will in the near future have an internal discussion on how to resolve this issue in the best way possible for our customers”, says Lennart Agén, a representative for Systembolaget to WOW News.

That’s a good question – how can you sell such wines “fairly”? (No, we assure you, all this is not a joke.)

Any advice for the Swedish monopoly?

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