World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Swiss wine

Article Id: WHEBN0008496915
Reproduction Date:

Title: Swiss wine  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Chardonnay, List of wine-producing countries, Outline of wine, Bulgarian wine, Wine from the United Kingdom
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Swiss wine

Vineyards in Sion
Vineyards on Lake Geneva at Rivaz

Swiss wine is produced from nearly 15 000 hectares 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 1.1 million hectoliters, divided into 527 000 hl of white wine and 587 000 hl 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]


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.


The main wine regions of Switzerland marked in brown.

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

Grape varieties

Red grape varieties growing in Graubunden.
Chasselas vines growing in Valais.

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 ha or more.[1]

Common grape varieties in Switzerland (2009 situation, all varieties >50 ha)[1]
Variety Color Synonym(s) Area (%) Area (hectares)
1. Pinot noir red Blauburgunder 29.7% 4 402
2. Chasselas white Gutedel 27.1% 4 013
3. Gamay red 10.2% 1 514
4. Merlot red 6.9% 1 028
5. Müller-Thurgau white 3.3% 493
6. Gamaret red 2.6% 380
7. Chardonnay white 2.2% 321
8. Sylvaner white Rhin 1.6% 241
9. Pinot gris white Malvoisie 1.5% 216
10. Garanoir red 1.4% 203
11. Syrah red 1.2% 181
12. Petite Arvine white 1.0% 154
13. Sauvignon blanc white 0.9% 134
14. Humagne rouge red 0.9% 128
15. Cornalin red Landroter 0.8% 116
16. Diolinoir red 0.8% 112
17. Pinot blanc white 0.7% 105
18. Savagnin blanc white Helda 0.6% 83
19. Cabernet Sauvignon red 0.4% 63
20. Cabernet Franc red 0.4% 54
All white varieties 57.9 6 245
All red varieties 42.1 8 574
Grand total 100.0 14 820

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]


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 early 1990s, though, a French-style Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée system has started to be implemented, starting in some of the French-speaking cantons. 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


  1. ^ a b c Office fédéral de l’agriculture OFAG: Das Weinjahr 2009 / L'année d'viticole 2009
  2. ^ a b Brostrom, Geralyn G.; Brostrom, Jack (2008-12-30). The Business of Wine: An Encyclopedia: An Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. pp. 234–.  
  3. ^ McPhee, John (1983-10-31). "La Place de la Concorde Suisse-I". The New Yorker. p. 50. Retrieved 22 July 2013. 
  4. ^ About Wine. Cengage Learning. 2011-03-08. pp. 367–.  
  5. ^ McCarthy; Ewing-Mulligan, Mary (2011-03-03). Wine For Dummies. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 203–.  
  6. ^ J. Robinson, J. Harding and J. Vouillamoz Wine Grapes - A complete guide to 1,368 vine varieties, including their origins and flavours pg 687 Allen Lane 2012 ISBN 978-1-846-14446-2
  7. ^  
  8. ^ My Switzerland "Vin des glaciers - Le "sherry" du Valais" Official Switzerland Tourism Site. Accessed: August 18th, 2012
  9. ^ J. Robinson Jancis Robinson's Guide to Wine Grapes pg 152 Oxford University Press 1996 ISBN 0198600984

External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.