The Swiss are showing admirable restraint in their taste for wine. Latest figures, released on Tuesday, show that annual consumption is over 40 litres a year - an increase of one bottle per person over last year.This content was published on September 5, 2000 - 12:05
The figures, from the Federal Office of Agriculture, reveal that the average Swiss likes a glass with dinner, but stops short of finishing the bottle.
In the year to June, almost 300 million litres of wine were sold in Switzerland - an increase of 1.3 million litres over the previous 12-month period, or one bottle per person.
The figure compares to an increase of five million litres recorded in the previous period, suggesting that wine consumption may be approaching its peak.
More foreign wine is consumed in Switzerland than homegrown varieties, but Swiss palates, or patriots, seem to be leaning more towards local vittles. Sales of Swiss wine rose by 2.6 million litres to reach 125 million, while foreign wine sales fell by 1.3 million litres to 172 million.
The figures mean the average Swiss drinks about 42 litres of wine a year, and they prefer red wine, particularly from abroad.
Consumption of local red was 65 million litres compared to 60 million for white. But foreign wine sales were 147 million litres of red and 25 million of white.
Vines cover more than 15,000 hectares of Swiss soil, with red wine grapes accounting for 8,000 and white for 7,000. The biggest producer is canton Valais, with 5,300 hectares, followed by Vaud with 3,900 and Geneva with 1,400.
swissinfo with agencies
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