The white wine Fulget 2011 was supposed to go on sale in Sweden from June 1st, but Systembolaget ended up cancelling the launch.
According to Spruce Up CEO Kåre Halldén, Systembolaget claimed that the Fulget, a Spanish albariño wine, did not smell or taste the same as the wine it tested six months earlier, before Spruce Up entered Fulget into a tendering process in which 50 wines competed.
Halldén told wine magazine Livets Goda that two out of three tasting experts at Systembolaget stated that the wine that was delivered to stores in May was “clearly better” than the original samples delivered in March.
“I believe that taste-wise it is exactly the same wine,” Halldén told Livets Goda. “Systembolaget, on the other hand, believes that the wine that has been delivered to the stores is much better than that which won the tender in the beginning of the year.”
Systembolaget spokesman Lennart Agén denied Halldén’s claims.
“We never said it tasted better. We’ve said it tasted different. It is simply a different wine,” Agén told The Local.
“Whether the wine that was delivered tasted better or not is his value judgement,” Agén said of Halldén’s claim.
“What I can confirm is that since the wine we tested and ordered is not the same as the wine that was eventually delivered – something which the producer has also confirmed – we cannot sell it in our stores”
Spruce Up claimed it has been ordered to pay for the cost of returning the 6,000 bottles, losing hundreds of thousands of kronor in the process (100,000 kronor = $15,400). Systembolaget also preserved the right to demand damages for lost revenues on wine sales, according to Spruce Up.
Livets Goda explained that Halldén recently issued a press release after a Swedish radio programme claimed that work conditions at Chilean wineries did not comply with Systembolaget’s code of conduct.
In the press release, Halldén criticised Systembolaget for not living up to its Corporate Social Responsibility commitments.
Asked if he suspects his press release could have something to do with the Fulget bottles being returned, Halldén said:
“I have no evidence to back that up so it would be reckless to issue a formal accusation.”
“The only thing I can confirm is that there were no objections to the wine before I criticized Systembolaget. After the criticism, exactly the same wine was stopped.”
Agén said that is an “absurd claim” and insisted that Systembolaget would have acted the same with any other provider.
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