Better known for delicious chocolate, snow-capped mountains, exquisite watches and wealth management, Switzerland is also a country very much in love with wine. It ranks 4thin the global top 10 based on per capita consumption of wine and its imports are slowly growing and diversifying. Quality over quantity is the driving force in this rather small, but extremely important European wine market.
The Swiss spend on wine more than anyone else in the world – nearly EUR 600 per person per year. In comparison, wine drinkers in Portugal and Spain spend just EUR 127 per person per year. The vast majority of the wine is imported, but the country also has a small number of prestigious wineries in cantons with a tradition in winemaking. Wine consumption reached 255 million liters in 2019 (close to 40 bottles per capita) and about 20% of which was grown internally.
Premium imported wine
Most of the imported wine comes from the classic markets, Italy, France and Spain – those are in fact the top 3 countries exporting wine globally. The Italian wine comes mainly from Tuscany, Veneto, Sicily and Puglia.
According to the Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture, imports of wine are constantly growing. Imports of white wines grew by 632,100 liters (+ 1.6%) to about 40 million liters.
An increase is also observed in imports of red wines (+527 500 liters, + 0.4%), which totaled 123 million liters. As in the past, Italy is at the head of the countries where the imported wines come from, with 77.2 million liters (+ 4.8% compared to 2016), followed by France, with 39.4 million liters (+ 2.0%), and Spain, with 30.7 million liters (-2.9%).
Imports of Portuguese wines remained stable (some 10.6 million liters).
The largest decline was in imports of United States wines (3.9 million liters in total, a drop of 1.2 million liters, -23.8%).
The Swiss love white wine, both locally produced and imported. Consumption of increased by close to 6% in 2019.
Consumption of imported red wine increased also increased with a lower percentage, around 3.5%, the same increase reported for sparkling wine.
Organic wines and premiumization are two trends that have been present on other mature wine markets and Switzerland is no exception, with sales for both organic and high-end wines being on the rise.
Tips for successfully entering the Swiss market
- Quality is vital for Swiss consumers and this means that wine importers will focus on brands that have a well-developed story and origin, with premium bottles and labels.
- Due to the strong competition, expect serious investments in marketing in order to gain traction. Try to find an importer that can offer support with this aspect
- Try focusing on your complex, bold red wines because these will not get competition from locally grown wines.
- For New World wines, try to clearly present what are the aspects that differentiate your wines from those of Italian, Spanish and French producers that are already well established on the market. Develop a strong, quality-oriented USP and mention the Geographic Indication
- When dealing with potential importers, make sure you have a professional, clear message and that you can provide samples as soon as they are requested.
Details about the wine import procedures, taxes and labeling can be found here.
WINE IMPORTERS IN SWITZERLAND
A. Droz & Fils
Address: 107 Rte Du Nant Of April, Meyrin
Address: Hasenmoosstrasse 33, Rothenburg
Address: Via Pedemonte Di Sopra 1, Melano
Producers interested in the Swiss market can find a database with top wine importers, distributors and retailers here.