Not widely known as a wine-producing country internationally, Switzerland has nevertheless some fine wines on offer. Their secret is their innovative mix of exclusivity, intricacy and superb taste. We take a look at some interesting facts about the country’s wine industry.

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First of all, why is Swiss wine rather unknown on an international level? Well, according to the federal agriculture office (BLW), only around one percent of Swiss wine is exported – and that mainly to the neighbouring country of Germany. Thus, the answer for why Swiss wines may be unknown seems quite straightforward.

Reasons for the low exportation rates include the strong Swiss currency which makes prices in foreign markets too high, high labour costs, as well as limited production. Nevertheless, Switzerland grows around 240 different grape varieties – although only four constitute almost three-quarters of the harvest (Pinot Noir, Chasselas, Gamay and Merlot). The most popular varieties are white Chasselas, an old native Swiss grape variety that originated around Lake Geneva, and Pinot Noir which comprise 27 and 29 per cent of the total production respectively.

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In total, Switzerland produces around 100 million litres of wine per year and 15,000 hectares of the country are covered with vines, which is a mere 0.4 per cent of Switzerland’s total surface. This might sound small but according to the industry body Swiss Wine Promotion, this number puts the country tenth in the world in terms of vineyards-to-country-surface-area ratio. Despite a large volume of wine production, the Swiss drink nearly all the wine they make themselves.

In total, the country has six grape-growing regions with Valais being the largest. This is followed by Vaud, German-speaking Switzerland, Geneva, Ticino and the Three Lakes region. By far the most famous wine-growing region of Switzerland is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lavaux in Vaud. But regardless of the area, all of these are good reasons why you should head to the country yourself to experience some of the fine wines the country has to offer first-hand. What are you waiting for?

TEXT: NANE STEINHOFF | PHOTOS: PIXABAY

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