All posts by Madeleine Brekke

Journalist Tasting of American Wines – A Unique 70 Vintage Journey

Journalist Tasting of American Wines – A Unique 70 Vintage Journey

AmCham and partners recently hosted journalists and Vinmonopolet representatives for a tasting of American wines at Park 29 in Oslo. Member importers AnoraEngelstadHaugen-GruppenPalmer GroupRobert PrizeliusTramontane, Treasury Wine Estates, VCT Norway, and West Coast Wines presented over 70 unique vintages currently on the Norwegian market, including newly launched products. In addition, AmCham proudly presented two wines not yet available in Norway.

Full List of Wines Presented

While enjoying wines from the Golden State and Washington, guests were able to view California-based LUCID Motors’ impressive Air Dream Edition EV.

A Journey Through California’s AVAs

Master of Wine and Head of Wine & Education at Kulinarisk Akademi, Heidi Iren Hansen Vestvik, led our Master Class – A journey through California’s AVA’s. Heidi presented a blind tasting of eight California wines, two from each grape variety, zeroing in on the nuances from different AVAs. The lineup featured the following wines:

  • Black Stallion Chardonnay
  • Marimar Estate La Masia Chardonnay
  • August West Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
  • Tyler Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir
  • 1000 Stories Bourbon Barrel Aged Zinfandel
  • Francis Ford Coppola Diamond Collection Zinfandel
  • Beringer Knights Valley Cab Sauv
  • Robert Mondavi Winery Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Photos: Julia Ardakani

Heidi is also a certified Capstone California educator and provided information about the courses available in Norway.

AmCham and our member wine importers enjoy opportunities to jointly inform on American wines. We look forward to future tastings with journalists, partners, and members!

AmCham Wine Committee

Through the collective strength of our members in our designated Wine Committee, AmCham works to increase market share of American wines in Norway, addressing trade barriers, ensuring a favorable policy environment, and educating on critical issues within the wine industry. US wine market share in Norway has increased considerably in the past years, due in large part to our committee’s tireless efforts.

Vinmonopolet sold 78.8 million liters of wine in 2023, a reduction of 1.7% from 2022. This was an expected decline, as sales are still normalizing after extraordinary pandemic circumstances. US wines represented 5.9% of total wines sales in Norway. US red wine sales decreased by 5.4% in keeping with the overall trend in red wine sales. On the other hand, US white wine sales rose by 22% and American rosés increased by 3.3%.

Mapping Vinmonopolet

The Norwegian wine monopoly, Vinmonopolet, has the exclusive right to sell spirits, wine, and strong ale with more than 4,7% alcohol to consumers in Norway. The process of entering the Norwegian market and getting wines listed is exceptionally challenging – not to mention keeping wines in stock and on shelves once they are listed. As US wineries are sourced from further away as compared to their European counterparts, shipping and logistics are significantly more complex.

Together with the other Nordic alcohol monopolies, Vinmonopolet has created a formal collaboration and binding joint roadmap to reduce emissions by 50% and ensure transparency in the entire value chain by 2030. Stricter requirements emphasize the need for clear communication and collaboration to make sure requirements are understood and that new procedures are implemented smoothly.

Past Wine Tastings

AmCham Nordics Webinar: Transatlantic Green Shift Trends & Opportunities for Nordic Champions

AmCham Nordics Webinar: Transatlantic Green Shift Trends & Opportunities for Nordic Champions

AmCham Norway – in partnership with Citi and AmChams Denmark, Finland, and Sweden – were pleased to host our Nordic community for a conversation with Bridget Fawcett, Managing Director and Head of Sustainability & Corporate Transitions Investment Banking at Citi.

Back by popular demand – and from her very unique leadership perspective at such a global organization – Fawcett masterfully informed on sustainability-focused transatlantic capital flows, with emphasis on capital access for Nordic green transition champions, covering:

  • International initiatives & agreements are accelerating climate finance at scale
  • Emergence of sovereign climate champions
  • Mandatory climate disclosure requirements
  • Transition technology innovations underway
  • Nature related dependencies moving up the agenda
  • Carbon credit market shift
Bridget Fawcett

Bridget Fawcett  – Managing Director and Head of Sustainability & Corporate Transitions Investment Banking

On transatlantic (Foreign Direct Investments) FDIs, Fawcett explained that US-Nordic investment is likely to continue to escalate due to our long-standing and aligned joint interests, strong geopolitical interdependencies, and technological cooperation. The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) allocates $479 billion in funding towards the green shift and have already resulted in significant capital flows to climate solutions and green technology exports, with 38% in new clean energy investments.

As a member of the World Economic Forum’s Task Force on Financing the Transition, Fawcett also acknowledged the importance of collective dedication to net zero goals, accenting that capital is indeed mobile. Nordic markets’ competitive advantages, however, are well rooted in political stability and trust.

Fawcett further demonstrated that the transition is technology-driven, with clean tech outpacing fossil fuel investments by 1.7 to 1 in 2023. Along with clean tech investment, AI is beginning to scale with likely amplification impacts across multiple sectors.

Baker Hughes wins contracts from Vår Energi for work offshore Norway

Baker Hughes announced two awards from Vår Energi that expand its regional presence in the North Sea for exploration logging, well intervention technology and subsea production systems.

The first contract, a nine-year engagement, is a testament to Baker Hughes’ heightened well intervention capabilities gained through the strategic acquisition of Altus Intervention completed in April 2023.

In addition to the interventions scope, Baker Hughes will supply all exploration logging solutions to help Vår Energi further develop their prospects in the Norwegian Continental Shelf. The agreement enables a seamless integration of Baker Hughes’ market-leading technologies into the wider operations of Vår Energi, enabling a powerful impact to their carbon reduction efforts.

The second contract with Vår Energi is to deliver a bespoke Balder field vertical tree system, a Baker Hughes technology selected for the complexities of this field.

This agreement spans 15 years, signifying a trusted long-term Future Agreement (FA) in one of Vår Energi’s core focus areas, the Balder field. The contract includes the support for existing Balder legacy wells and any future developments in the Balder area. This pivotal engagement is anchored by Baker Hughes’ distinct Norway delivery model, a multimodal site in Dusavik, Stavanger, that ensures a forward-looking local future for Norway’s oil and gas industry.

“The two long-term contract awards from Vår Energi enable us to deploy our superior portfolio not only in well intervention, but also in exploration logging and subsea production. Combining our technology, our exceptional regional expertise, and our dedication to a world-class customer experience ensures successful outcomes for both companies,” said Maria Claudia Borras, Executive Vice President, Oilfield Services & Equipment at Baker Hughes.

Full Story HERE

Minister Huitfeldt’s lecture at Luther College, Iowa

Lecture by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway, Anniken Huitfeldt held at Luther College, Iowa. September 23, 2023

Thank you, Dr. Johnson, for your welcoming words,

I am very pleased to be here at Luther College. A college founded by Norwegians more than 160 years ago. Its first president was Peter Laurentius Larsen – Laur Larsen. He was born in the town of Kristiansand on the southern coast of Norway in 1833. When Larsen grew up, Norway was among the poorest countries in Europe.

And many left for America. Some of them returned home, but the majority of them settled in this new land. Most of them here in the Midwest. Looking for opportunities and a better life.

Such as Niels Johnsen Kaasa from Heddal in Telemark. He left Norway in 1839 and eventually settled in Winnishiek County, Iowa. He ended up as a pastor here in Decorah.

I can imagine the young Niels Kaasa sitting on the top of a hill in his native Telemark in 1839 – before he left for the U.S. Looking out over the village, the valleys, and the countryside.

And what he saw was mostly misery. Poverty. He saw people with small or no chances of social mobility. If you were born poor then, you were destined to become poor for the rest of your life. He saw no hope. No future.

Then I imagine that same Niels Kaasa sitting on top of that same hill in Telemark today. Looking out over the same village, valleys, and countryside. What he would have seen? How he would have reacted? He would have seen much the same landscape, but a completely different country.

He would have seen a country with opportunities. Prosperity. Hope.

He would have seen people with equal chances of social mobility, whether they are born rich or poor. Black or white. Girl or boy. Educated people with all the possibilities in the world to pursue a good life.

Now, Norway is not unique in that sense. Many European countries from where people emigrated, and perhaps in particular the Nordics, have been through a similar transformation. From poverty to prosperity. And although there are many reasons and explanations for that journey, the most important one, I think, can be summed up in one word: Trust.

Trust between people. Trust between rulers and those who are ruled. Trust in the government due to trust in the system of governance.

And I should also add: Trust between nations.

Continue Reading HERE

AmCham Mentorship Program – 2nd Group Gathering 2023

AmCham Mentorship Program Group Meeting: Work Culture & High-Quality Mentoring

AmCham’s latest Mentorship Program group gathering, graciously hosted by AIG, featured enlightening presentations and discussions by both AIG’s Tobias Larsen and Elisabeth Hellemose. Shedding light on the theme of “Bridging US and Nordic Work Cultures,” their insights into AIG’s approach to Values, Volunteerism, and Employee Resource Groups underscored how these strategies foster not only employee engagement but also enhanced performance.

A Unique Collaborative Platform

Mirha Sunagić, Associate Professor at the University of South-Eastern Norway (USN), subsequently shared her team’s detailed research on AmCham’s Mentorship Program. In her “High-Quality Mentoring Relationships” presentation, Professor Sunagić shared findings on how the program serves as a unique collaborative platform, preparing emerging leaders for the challenges of today’s international business environment – while fostering robust AmCham community connections.

The meeting culminated in productive break-out sessions where mentors and mentees exchanged insights from their program experiences thus far. The cohort looks forward to embarking on the program’s second half in the months ahead!

Participating Companies 2022-23:

About the AmCham Mentorship Program

With its unique cross-industry orientation, AmCham’s Mentorship Program offers a dynamic, internationally minded arena for leadership development.

The program pairs emerging corporate talent with seasoned executives from AmCham Patron-level member companies. The result: a collaborative arena that fosters improvement and reflection, prepares young leaders for the challenges of the international marketplace, and forges bonds between AmCham’s transatlantic member companies. For further information and interest in the program, please contact

Equinor acquires stake in Bayou Bend CCS Project

Equinor has acquired a 25 percent interest in Bayou Bend CCS LLC, positioned to be one of the largest US carbon capture and storage projects located along the Gulf Coast in Southeast Texas.

“Commercial CCS solutions are critical for hard-to-abate industries to meet their climate ambitions while maintaining their activity. Entering Bayou Bend strengthens our low carbon solutions portfolio and supports our ambition to mature and develop 15-30 million tonnes of equity CO2 transport and storage capacity per year by 2035. Our experience from developing carbon storage projects can help advance decarbonization efforts in one of the largest industrial corridors in the US,” said Grete Tveit, senior vice president for Low Carbon Solutions in Equinor.

Bayou Bend is positioned to be one of the largest CCS solutions in the US for industrial emitters, with nearly 140,000 gross acres of pore space for permanent CO2 sequestration and gross potential storage resources of more than one billion metric tons. The Bayou Bend total acreage includes nearly 100,000 gross acres onshore in Chambers and Jefferson Counties, Texas, and approximately 40,000 gross acres offshore Beaumont and Port Arthur, Texas.

“We look forward to working together with our partners to further mature this exciting project. Bayou Bend is Equinor’s first announced low carbon solutions project on the Gulf Coast. Alongside our upstream production and offshore wind developments, we’re strengthening our position as a broad energy company and expanding our footprint in the Gulf region,” said Chris Golden, senior vice president and US Country Manager. “Bayou Bend is a significant milestone towards growing our low carbon portfolio in the US.”

Bayou Bend is a joint venture between Chevron U.S.A. Inc., through its Chevron New Energies division, Talos Energy Inc., through its Talos Low Carbon Solutions division, and Equinor. Equinor acquired its 25 percent share through the purchase of Texas Carbon 1 LLC, a subsidiary of Carbonvert. Chevron is the operator with 50 percent interest, and Talos holds 25 percent interest.

Read full story HERE.

AmCham Norway’s 23rd Annual Golf Tournament

Generously sponsored by Oracle and PwC, the AmCham Golf Tournament celebrated its 23rd anniversary at Asker Golf Club, bringing together 23 teams comprised of 92 players from all sectors of Norway’s international business community to network and compete for the coveted Søderstrøm Cup and a top prize of round trip tickets to the US from Icelandair.

The tournament’s format, Texas Scramble and special hole competitions – kept golfers on their toes and ensured everyone had a great day “at work!”

Gathering for the first time at Asker’s beautiful course, the weather played on our side after a turbulent summer weatherwise. Players kept cool in the sun, enjoying refreshing beverages throughout the day, courtesy of Coca-Cola and enjoyed a delicious BBQ dinner buffet al fresco.

In a close team competition, WTW came in first place and walked away with the tournament cup, four round trip tickets from Icelandair to any of their US destinations, as well as prizes provided by AmerikalinjenHelly Hansen, signed copies of Suzann “Tutta” Pettersen’s book, and AmCham whiskey glasses.

Determined by handicap, First House came in second, just ahead of PwC in third. The 2nd and 3rd place winners walked away with prizes from Asker Golf Club, Google, Mondelez, NetJets, Shades of Norway, Starbucks, and Radisson RED.

As in previous years, several individual prizes were also up for grabs. Robert Nash earned the “closest to the pin”  Eleni & Chris hair and skincare set from IC Scandinavia and a gift card for virtual golf at PINPIN Oslo.

Grant Thornton’s Inger Johanna Ystanes won the women’s longest drive, taking home an exclusive gift card for a departure from Avinor’s VIP terminal.  PwC’s Casper Nilsen Moe captured the men’s prize for longest drive, coming away with the second exclusive gift card for a departure from Avinor’s VIP terminal

Three players competed for the final putt off with WTW‘s Klaus Stabell coming out on top, taking home a gift card from Hotel Bristol, a hair and skincare set from IC Scandinavia and a goodie bag from Warner Bros Discovery.

The increasingly popular tournament is held in August each year, the week after Arendalsuka. For questions about participation, prizes, or sponsorship for the AmCham Golf Tournament, please contact Madeleine Brekke at

The winning team from WTW (and Boston Scientific)
Second Place: Team First House

2023 Prize Sponsors

AmCham at Arendalsuka 2023 – Multinationals in Norway: Patients, Innovation & Profit  

AmCham at Arendalsuka 2023 – Multinationals in Norway: Patients, Innovation & Profit

This year at Arendalsuka, AmCham hosted a crowded meeting at Clarion Tyholmen addressing the central question: “Is the Norwegian healthcare sector competitive?” AmCham members represent 21 industries, with a significant number within the healthcare industry. In Arendal, our panellists debated the progress made on the Health Industry white paper (Meld. St. 18, 208-2019) and what is needed to make the public healthcare sector an attractive partner for international business.  

Parliamentary panelists included Per Vidar Kjølmoen (The Standing Committee on Business and Industry, Labor Party), Mahmoud Farahmand (The Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, Conservative Party), and Alfred Jens Bjørlo (The Standing Committee on Business and Industry, Liberal Party).  All three MPs emphasized the potential of the health industry as an important growth area for Norway, and commercialization requires further work. Farahmand remarked that foreign investment, access to investment, and public procurement are further steps in making the public healthcare sector an attractive partner for business.  

Patient groups were represented on the panels by Trine Beate Nicolaysen, General Secretary, The Norwegian Childhood Cancer Society and Kristin Kornelia Utne, Board Member, The Norwegian Medical Association and President of the Norwegian Junior Doctors Association. Here, real life examples were given on the need for faster approval of innovative life-saving medicines and challenges from the perspective of clinicians.  

Industry was represented by member companies AbbVie (Kirsti Nyhus, Managing Director – Norway), Merck (Taher Hassan, Cluster Lead, Nordics and Baltics), and Roche (Martin Haswell, General Manager – Norway). Nyhus discussed the value of the health industry and its importance for Norway. As a regional leader, Taher provided insight into what Norway could learn from its neighbors in addressing barriers to private-sector value creation in the Norwegian healthcare sector. Haswell emphasized that the Norwegian healthcare sector has room to grow in its collaboration with industry and implementation of innovative solutions.  

Going forward, multinational healthcare investment in Norway will hinge upon:  

AmCham will continue to work diligently on all fronts.  

Presenting Member Companies:

Norway fund wants more women on boards, concerned about excessive CEO pay

Norway’s $1.4 trillion wealth fund, the world’s single largest stock market investor, is to step up pressure on the companies it invests in to have more women board members and to also reduce excessive executive pay, a top fund official said.

The fund is one of a growing number investors and policymakers pushing to put more women in company boardrooms. Having a broader range of experiences around a boardroom table has been shown to improve decision-making and corporate culture.

Read more HERE.

IRA spurs renewable buildout, but Biden climate goals remain elusive

A year after its adoption, the Inflation Reduction Act has bolstered the adoption of carbon-free power, but the country does not yet appear to be on track to meet President Biden’s climate goals.

The IRA provided significant tax credits for low-carbon and carbon-free energy sources including wind, solar, nuclear, carbon capture technology and biofuels, as well as for electric vehicles.

Recent reports have found that these subsidies are having an impact.

Read more HERE.