Just before Christmas 2022, I got a call from Ilias (my brother-in-law) that he and Maria (our wine guru) needed one more co-founder for a Greek wine importing company.
One of my passions in life is good food and great wine, so it didn’t take long for me to jump on that train. I became the third co-founder in Oinofilia AB.
The background of Oinofilia (which stands for “Friend of wine” in Greek) is that Maria started the company in Denmark back in 2012 and always wanted to enter the Swedish market (which is much bigger than Denmark). After several attempts to collaborate with other Swedish wine importers, she was finally ready to enter the Swedish market on her own.
But the Swedish alcohol market is complicated; we have a state monopoly for distribution to the consumer market via “Systembolaget.” Wine importers can sell their wines to consumers, but only through Systembolaget’s own stores. The distribution to the HORECA market is not monopolized, and wine importers are free to sell their wines to HORECA businesses, which on their turn need permits from the state to sell alcohol to consumers.
For an alcohol importer (as Oinofilia) to distribute their products to the Swedish market, they need to have a couple of permits, including storage and distribution (which come with their own complex regulations), and comply with a bunch of other rules and reports. Despite all these structural obstacles, we managed to start Oinofilia AB, found a great distributor, and got all the permits approved. We can finally, import Greek wine and sell it to the Swedish market.
I just love Oinofilia’s philosophy and purpose, which is to offer Greek ecological, organic or biodynamic wines to the Swedish market. The wine houses that we at Oinofilia represent must have a clear history and tradition, specialize in grape cultivation (often using Greek local grapes like Assyrtiko, Xinomavro, Agiorgitiko, Vidiano etc.). Also it would preferably be family owned and mid-to-small size with limited amount of vintages. We hold the conviction that superior wines are not just a source of pleasure but a reflection of the rich history and cultures that produce them. In our eyes, the wine makers are passionate artisans, and we share their love of this amazing beverage.
The next step is to get our ecological certification and then enter the HORECA market. Hopefully and soon enough, you can taste our wines in a restaurant near you.