Norwegian in a coma after drinking wine bought in Sweden

A 59-year-old man from Arendal in Norway is lying in a coma, probably poisoned by wine that was bought in Sweden.

Swedish state monopoly retailer Systembolaget announced on Tuesday morning that it will remove the product, a Spanish semi-dry white wine called Torres San Valentin, from its shelves on Tuesday.

“The man drank the wine on Saturday and after five minutes collapsed in a coma,” said Leif Alexandersen from the Norwegian prosecutors’ office to news agency NTB.

Norwegian police, which suspect that the man consumed potassium cyanide resulting in immediate breathing paralysis, have issued a warning against drinking the wine and have asked people to return their bottles of Torres San Valentin.

The man’s life was on a knife edge when he arrived at the hospital in Arendal, but his condition has improved somewhat since then.

While it remains unclear exactly where he bought the wine, there are strong indications to suggest that he bought it in Sweden. However, the wine in question is also sold by the Norwegian state chain Vinmonopolet.

The Swedish state alcohol retailer Systembolaget was on Monday in contact with Norwegian police and Vinmonopolet who were conducting tests on the bottle in Oslo and the results are expected sometime on Tuesday.

“We are not certain and those that know most at the moment are the Norwegian police, which have the actual bottle,” Systembolaget’s Lennart Agén said to news agency TT on Tuesday.

Systembolaget decided to discontinue selling bottles of Torres San Valentin in Sweden pending the results of the Norwegian tests. No further incidents have been reported regarding the wine to date.

Lennart Agén does not think that there is any connection to an incident in 2007, when Systembolaget received a letter from someone claiming to have poisoned products in 15 stores.

“With our turnover there is nothing left in the assortment from then,” he said.

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