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swiss wine bottles

Switzerland, a wine market structured on linguistic grounds

1. Two groups of consumers
2. Choosing wines
3. A competitive wine market
Our Score

Anyone who talks about Switzerland and its wine scene must bear in mind that the country is not part of the European Union, although it is surrounded by EU members. It also has its own wine production and a strong wine-loving tradition.


The Swiss Confederation was founded in 1291 as a defensive alliance among three cantons. In succeeding years, other localities joined the original three. The Swiss Confederation secured its independence from the Holy Roman Empire in 1499.
Switzerland’s sovereignty and neutrality have long been honored by the major European powers, and the country was not involved in either of the two world wars. The political and economic integration of Europe over the past half century, as well as Switzerland’s role in many UN and international organizations, has strengthened Switzerland’s ties with its neighbors.

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Switzerland economy indicators

Switzerland is a prosperous and modern market economy with low unemployment, a highly skilled labor force, and a per capita GDP among the highest in the world. Switzerland’s economy benefits from a highly developed service sector, led by financial services, and a manufacturing industry that specializes in high-technology, knowledge-based production. Its economic and political stability, transparent legal system, exceptional infrastructure, efficient capital markets, and low corporate tax rates also make Switzerland one of the world’s most competitive economies.

The Swiss have brought their economic practices largely into conformity with the EU’s to gain access to the Union’s Single Market and enhance the country’s international competitiveness. Some trade protectionism remains, however, particularly for its small agricultural sector. The fate of the Swiss economy is tightly linked to that of its neighbors in the euro zone, which purchases half of Swiss exports.

Two distinct groups of consumers

French-speaking regular wine drinkers are generally more involved in the wine category, drink wine more frequently and are more adventurous with their wine choices. These drinkers also typically consider country and region of origin as well as expert validation to be particularly important when buying wine.

By contrast, German-speaking drinkers have a tendency to drink wine less frequently than their French-speaking counterparts. They are also more likely to choose both locally grown and lower-calorie wine. German-speaking drinkers are less experimental and more health conscious with wine.

Switzerland alcoholic beverages share

What the Swiss buy when choosing wines?

The two groups have commonalities: their interest in choosing wine based on its complementing food with food matching being the top driver amongst Swiss regular wine drinkers. According Wine Intelligence, 82% reported that they find it to be the most  important factor when purchasing a wine.

Trade experts suggest wine is intertwined with gastronomy in Switzerland.

Switzerland wine consumption, by volume

Trade experts suggest wine is intertwined with gastronomy in Switzerland, which can disadvantage some old-world producing countries in particular, due to the lack of association of these origins with food typically served in Switzerland.

In 2016, the Swiss government implemented stricter drinking and driving regulations, reported to have contributed to a shift in wine consumption behavior and suggested to be a contributor to the small decline in volume of wines sold, particularly in restaurants.

Switzerland wine consumption, by value

The fiercely competitive Swiss wine market

A high gross domestic product goes hand in hand with a comparatively high wine consumption and the willingness to spend relatively large amounts of money per bottle. As well as their own wines, people traditionally drink wines from Italy and France, the country’s big wine-producing neighbors.

Wines from Austria have established themselves in recent years, German Rieslings have caught on in the German-speaking areas, and Spain is the number three importing country. South Africa, Australia and Portugal also play important roles.

In recent years, interest has also grown in topics such as regionality and sustainability. Young Swiss winemakers are also finding an audience keen to try out their wines.

swiss wine bottles
Switzerland, a wine market structured on linguistic grounds
Our evaluation method
The data shows key metrics, and these are combined to show a ranking calculated using a composite weighted attractiveness combining overall economic factors and wine market factors.
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Wine Market Attractiveness