Working in the wine trade is the best job in the world

Alexander Michaelsen, Product Manager for France, South America and Eastern Europe for Oslo-based Vinmonopolet, enjoys meeting wine producers and travelling to vineyards. Here he discusses changes affecting the Norwegian wine market and  tell us  about his role with Vinmonopolet.

I am responsible for writing tenders for France, South America and Eastern Europe, and they make up about 25 percent of each launch plan. In my role as product manager, in cooperation with my colleagues. It is also my responsibility to ensure that we sell products that are certified as ethical, sustainable, organic and biodynamic, and products that are bottled in environmentally friendly packaging.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
Well, having had wine as a hobby for the past 11 to 12 years, the chance to continuously keep up to date with what is happening in the wine world, to meet a great array of wine producers and, last but not least, to travel to both established and up-and-coming wine appellations, makes my role at Vinmonopolet feel like the best job in the world.

What are the key industry and consumer preference trends affecting your work?
Historically the consumption of wine in Norway was focused on powerful wines with higher alcohol content, and on the volume products with even higher residual sugar. We’ve seen in the last 5 to 7 years a major change in demand, with a focus on lighter, softer, lower tannin and lower alcohol wines. Pinot noir and Gamay are grapes that are doing great in our market nowadays. At the same time, sparkling wines are continuing their growth, with Cremant as the fastest-growing category, especially from Burgundy and Bordeaux.

I try to get the best out of this fair by making short and efficient appointments with the producers

What are you looking to achieve at Vinexpo Paris?
I’m looking to discover value in all price ranges, mainly from cooler appellations, wines with authenticity that can add value and/or depth to our assortment.

The chance to continuously keep up to date with what is happening in the wine world, to meet a great array of wine producers and, last but not least, to travel to both established and up-and-coming wine appellations, makes my role at Vinmonopolet feel like the best job in the world.

What is the secret to getting the best out of a busy Vinexpo?
Well, I don’t think it’s a secret, but I try to get the best out of this fair by making short and efficient appointments with the producers I want to meet, and by clustering them by appellation or a common theme. At the same time, I always put aside some free time for tastings and for interesting master classes.

Photo: Alexander Michaelsen, Product Manager for France, South America and Eastern Europe, Vinmonopolet


Vinmonopolet

Vinmonopolet, is a government-owned alcoholic beverage retailer  in Norway. The institution was founded in 1922 as the result of trade negotiations with wine exporters, mainly in France.  Vinmonopolet now has more than 330 shops nationwide with more than 20,000 products available.

Mild and Sparkling

In the last 5 to 7 years a major change in demand, with a focus on lighter, softer, lower tannin and lower alcohol wines. Pinot noir and Gamay are grapes that are doing great in our market nowadays. At the same time, sparkling wines are continuing their growth.

10% of all sales are organic

From 0.5m litres of organic wines sold in 2007, Norwegians now consume more than five million litres a year. The average Norwegian will spend somewhere around €13 for a bottle of wine.