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Vivino faces legal challenge in Sweden

Published:  24 February, 2020

Vivino, the leading wine app is facing legal trouble in Sweden, the Times is reporting this morning.

It has been threatened with a £235,000 fine for breach of the Scandinavian country’s strict alcohol retail laws.

Sweden operates a state alcohol monopoly through Systembolaget, which sells all beverages with an abv above 3.5%.

Vivino operates as a crowd-sourced wine-rating platform, with some 42 million users and 11 million vintage-specific wines in its database. It also enables users to buy wines, a feature which Systembolaget believes contravenes its monopoly.

“When Vivino sells alcoholic beverages to Swedish consumers through distance sales, it is operating a retail trade business in Sweden and consequently acting in violation of the law,” Systembolaget said in a statement.

If the legal challenge is successful, Vivino may be forced to remove the sales functionality from its app – or withdraw from the Swedish market altogether.

Vivino was founded in Denmary by Heini Zachariassen (pictured above) and Theis Sondergaard in 2010. It notched up its billionth customer scan in November last year.

As Harpers reported last week, the app is poised to add greater customer personalisation into its operations.

The company has yet to issue a public statement on the legal action.