David vs. Goliath – the Handlavin.se saga

judge dreddI do not know if you heard, but a #winelover is to stand trial for selling wine.

As many of you know, Sweden has a monopoly when it comes to alcoholic beverages. Peder Molin had one of the smaller e-wine stores, selling wines from Austria. 2011 he was reported to the police, along with a number of additional e-wine stores. A few years later, in 2014, the police came with a search warrant and seized a few bottles and business documents. Now is the time for trial.

The Monopoly has not been pleased with the fact that several e-wine stores has been able to find ways  to sell wine legally – and the Monopoly has often clamed that it is not, even though so far they have not managed to get a sentence toward anyone or even get anyone to court – until now!

Peder Molin, Handlavin.se
Peder Molin, Handlavin.se

Peder Molin, Handlavin.se vs the state is on for a two day trial, May 5th and 6th, after this it  will be decided – guilty or not guilty. I will not precede the result of the trial.

Threre are things that might be the downfall for Handlavin.se. This company was a Swedish company, unlike many other e-wine merchants that have chosen to put all of their activities abroad in a different EU-country like Denmark, Germany, UK, France etc.

There are thing that speaks for Handlavin.se. He has paid all taxes and fees, he has not sold to minors and the company has been registered for distance selling of wine at the tax authorities. The company has been trying to do the right thing, why it should be difficult to prove criminal intent or intent to defraud the state of money. On the contrary, Peder Molin / Handlavin.se can show that he have tried to follow Swedish law – this are things working to hos benefit.

If I understand it correctly the prosecutors case is that Peder had a ware house in Sweden and therefore was engaged in retail trade of alcohol in Sweden – somthing that only Systembolaget is allowed to do. Peder argue for his part that all wines was at each winery in Austria when the customer made thier order and paid for the wine. And then it was packed and addressed to the costumers in Austria, taxes and fees have been paid, after which it was sent to Sweden and the customers.

Well, we’ll see how it goes – I, however, keeps my fingers crossed for Peder!

Franz Schneider, Artisan wines
Franz Schneider, Artisan wines

There is a bit of irony that Austrian wines will hold a grand tasting at the Grand Hotel tomorrow, on the same day as one of its greatest advocates for Austrian wine in this country is to stand trial for selling Austrian wine. On site is the Austrian winemaker Franz Schneider from Artisan Wines, who will also testify at the trial.

There are actually a lot at stake, of course, personal for Peder, it’s never fun to be in his situation but also for Systembolaget (the Monopoly). Would Peder win, the monopoly will find it self standing on a very shaky ground!

Peder has written about his thoughts about this, in Swedish, here.

Magnus Reuterdahl

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