History of Blend Wines
Blend Wines history begin in 2009. Liz Mortensen in cooperation with Christopher Moestue and Inge Hilland creates an importing company for wine and beer. We wanted an independent profile for quality, but still to be in the safe structure of Moestue Group in Norway. And since that moment we just been going on full speed forward, building a portfolio of an amazing group of producers.
In both 2014 and 2015 Blend Wines was awarded as "Gazelle" from the Norwegian financial newspaper Dagens Næringsliv and PWC. This is an award for new companys with secure economy and growth, and is a very solid statement of healty economy.
Sales: Vinmonopolet - about 92% of the total Norwegian marked
In Noway we have a Monopoly system og Gouverment shops for reatil of alcoholic beverage: Vinmonopolet. This is a gouverment run chain of retailshops that have the exclusive right to sell wine, spirits and strong beer in Norway (all alcohol over 4,75%) to private consumers. In total about 400 shops spread out in the full geography.
The Monopoly system of Norway is quite complicatet, and very strict - any deadlines need to be kept. We recommend to read in the link under for information about tenders and marketingplans.
We have different ytypes of listings:
- Basic Selection - a listing that will bring the wine into 60 - 400 shops, depending on availiability and category. To get this listing for 12-18 months a Public Tender from the marketingplan have to be won by blindtasting. To work with tenders is very important for us, and we pay a lot of attention to this part of the system. For tenders it is very important to be deliver samples within the deadline.
- Ordering Selection - a listing with no guarantee for any sale or to be present in any shops. But customers can order this wines do be delivered in a chosen shop within 2-5 days. Sales volume is usually limited for this, but it can work very well for some attractice wines in small quantity.
- Cellarstores - Only a few shops with special selection of "Fine Wine", normally 6 releases by theme (like Burgundy, Champagne, Germany etc) once a year. For this wines it is a system of purchase we do in dialogue with Monopoly, and this is only for very small quantitis.
Vinmonopolet - Information in English
Sales: Horeca - about 8% of the total Norwegian marked
Horeca (Hotels, Restaurants, Catering) the group of the customers with a legal license to sell alcohol. For this group it is also legal to purchase alcohol directly from importers or via wholesalers.
We work directly with a selection of independent restaurants, some of them ranked as the best, and most innovative in Norway. Restaurants normally order wines from one of the wholesalers dedicated to this purpose, and for Blend Wines we work close with Vinhuset to support the needs of Horeca.
For bigger purchase purpose/hotels/chain restaurants we have a dedicated sales cooperation with all companies in Moestue Group, where agreements will be negotiated for all companies together.
Transport and Logistics
We have a long term and strong partner in Skanlog for our logistic, warehouse and transport. They take care of all transport, both into Norway, and also transport out to all the 400 Monopoly shops spread around in our quite complicated geography. Skanlog also is our central point of storage for our wine and beers, and offer good contitions regarding stable temprature in a very big underground facility.
For transport we will on cooperation with Skanlog send a Purchase Order (PO) with a unique number and containing all details for a contact person for chosen area. When wines is ready for pick up, the producer arrange a date/time directly with this contactperson. Our contact person in Skanlog is Heidi Vagen.
The people: Liz & Laurence
Together with all our producers, we are the one that really make Blend Wines to an amazing company filled with knowledge and good wines to be proud of. For us this is a co-creation where we all work hard to gain something good together as a team.
Liz Mortensen (Norwegian) - General Manager - Started Blend Wines in 2009
Sommelier from 2004. Been working full time with wine since 1999, a lot of experience from different import companies, wholesale, transport and also as a journalist for food/wine with magazines and food-photos. Speaks Norwegian and English fluent, understand quite a lot French and some German.
Laurence Gensac (French) - Product Manager
Been working full time in Blend Wines since February 2012. Sommelier from 2012. Grew up close to Angers in France, and have been in school and worked in several countries. Know the Norwegian Monopoly and logistic system very well. Speaks French, English, Norwegian, Italian, Spanish and Portugese fluent (very impressive...!) In the moment Laurence live most of the time in Lisbon, but travel regular to Oslo in Norway and to visit different fairs, tastings and her family in Loire.