Swiss wine industry in need of new image

Swiss wine makers are being urged to overhaul their image, after a new study found that Swiss wine is little known, badly marketed, and rapidly falling from favour among younger drinkers.

This content was published on January 8, 2000 - 16:08

Swiss wine makers are being urged to overhaul their image, after a new study found that Swiss wine is little known, badly marketed, and rapidly falling from favour among younger drinkers.

The results of the survey of 3000 wine drinkers in Switzerland paint a dismal picture of the country's wine industry. The overiding impression is that Switzerland lags way behind its overseas competitors in terms of promotion and marketing, and needs to develop a coherent, unified strategy if it is to prosper in the long-term.

The study found that growing numbers of Swiss people under the age of 45 are abandoning home-grown varieties in favour of foreign imports, chiefly because Swiss wines are not seen as good value for money.

Respondents also had strong words for the restaurant trade, saying wines - both Swiss and foreign - are typically over-priced and do not match expectations of quality.

The study put forward a variety of recommendations. It says Switzerland's wine growing regions need to specialise by growing only those grape types which thrive and prosper in their areas. It also advises the cantons to work towards creating a unified industry in the face of formidable foreign competition.

As far as sales and marketing are concerned, the study suggests that wine growers should work more closely with Swiss tourism and the retail trade to promote Swiss wine both and home and abroad.

The study observed that wine drinkers are becoming increasingly discriminating about the wines they drink, prefering to pay higher prices for a better product. A key recommendation is that Swiss wine makers follow the French example, and create well-defined categories, such as "grand crus".

These initial findings form the first stage of a three-tier study, conducted by a research institute in Lausanne. The next step will be to interview regular wine drinkers and experts in Valais, Vaud and German-speaking Switzerland, with the aim of formulating a coherent strategy for the wine industry.

The study's ultimate objective is to help Swiss wine makers become more dynamic and responsive, and to tap into the growing market of younger, more discriminating drinkers, who are prepared to pay for quality.

From staff and wire reports


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