Switzerland

Introduction

This mountainous country has five external borders; for sure France, Germany, Austria and Italy, but also with the Principality of Liechtenstein towards the east. Capital Bern has about 130.000 inhabitants, while Zurich, the largest town, has three times more. Switzerland is located in Europe. However, they are not a part of the European Union and still use their own currency, the Swiss Franc. The country did sign the Schengen agreement and, even more importantly, they are a founding member of the European Free Trade Association (signed in 1960) that supervises the worldwide liberalization of trade.

The highest Swiss mountain is the Dufourspitze, close to Italy and part of the Monte Rosa massif with the top at 4.634 m. However, we do not find the vineyards here but rather in the south-west regions of Geneva, Vaud and Valais along the Rhone river. This area represents over two thirds of their wine production; the rest is coming from smaller regions like Zurich-Luzern, Ticino, Jura and the three lakes. Most of the Swiss wines are for local consumption, with an export rate lower than 2%. In general, we can describe them as light, good quality but not meant to be aged and quite expensive due to the rather low production. The country has a wide range of grape varieties, although Pinot Noir and Chasselas are the most planted vines. Swiss people surely like their wines and the total yearly consumption adds up to around 250 million litres. Imported wines come from Spain, France and mainly from neighbouring Italy (ca.40%).