You Might Like

Swiss wine is produced from nearly 15,000 hectares (37,000 acres) of vineyards, and the wines are mainly produced in the west and in the south of Switzerland, in the cantons of Geneva, Neuchâtel, Ticino, Valais and Vaud. White grapes varieties are grown on 42% of the country's vineyard surface, and red grape varieties on 58%.

According to data from the Swiss Federal Office of Agriculture,[1] the Swiss wine production in 2009 was just over 110 million litres (29,000,000 US gal; 24,000,000 imp gal), divided into 52,700,000 L (13,900,000 US gal; 11,600,000 imp gal) of white wine and 58,700,000 L (15,500,000 US gal; 12,900,000 imp gal) of red wine.

Nearly all the national production is drunk within the national boundaries;[2] less than 2% of the wine is exported (mainly to Germany). Switzerland ranks in the top 10 of per capita consumption of wine,[2] and as of 1983 imported two thirds of it, including more Beaujolais than the United States.[3]

History


The tradition of wine and viticulture in Switzerland is very old, at minimum from the Roman era.

The first bottle, made in ceramic, was found near Sembrancher (Valais), in a Celtic tomb of a lady of 2nd century BC. An inscription on the bottle indicates that it contained wine. Around the 150s BC, in the Celtic era, the people in Valais offered wine to the dead, and probably they also drank the same wine. After a century, the Roman amphorae also appeared.

Geography


Swiss wines must be labeled to show their geographic origin.[4] The regions include: the Vaud, Valais, Geneva, Neuchatel, Ticino and Thurgau.[5]

Grape varieties


The two most common grape varieties in Switzerland are the red Pinot noir at around 30% and the white Chasselas at around 27%. A large number of grape varieties are cultivated in Switzerland, many of them indigenous or regional specialties. Some 90 grape varieties are cultivated on an area of 1 hectare (2.5 acres) or more.[1]

Other grapes grown in Switzerland include hybrid varieties like Muscat bleu which had 3 hectares (7.4 acres) in cultivation for commercial winemaking 2009.[6]

Classification


For a long time, Switzerland lacked detailed national regulations regarding wine classification, which meant that it was to a large extent up to wine producers about what to put on wine labels; neither a German wine-style Prädikat system or a French wine-style appellation system was implemented, and as a non-EU member, Switzerland did not have to implement European Union wine regulations.[7] Wines were usually labelled by their village of origin, by grape variety, or using a brand name. From the late 1980s, though, a French-style Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée system started to be implemented, starting with the Canton of Geneva. These regulations are mainly implemented by the cantons themselves.

Wine styles


Over the years, the Swiss have developed a number of unique specialty wines from grapes rarely found outside Switzerland. These include:

  • Vin des glaciers—a sherry-style wine that utilizes a solera system of wine stored in larch wood or oak barrels that are never fully emptied with newer vintages being added to the barrels containing the older vintages.[8] The wines are primarily made from the Swiss wine grape Rèze in Valais canton.[9]

See also


You Might Like