Swiss vintners are showing off their wares this week at a special wine tasting event in London.This content was published on March 19, 2002 - 08:13
The event, which took place in the British capital on Tuesday, was attended by 21 of Switzerland's top wine producers who are trying to convince foreign buyers that Swiss wines can compete with the best.
Daniel Lehmann, director of the Swiss Wine Exporters Association, says Swiss wine is still comparatively little known outside the country's borders.
"The big problem is that Swiss wines are not very well known abroad," Lehmann told swissinfo.
"Switzerland is more known for cheese and chocolate, banks and watches and so on, but not for wine," he added.
The goal of the association, an umbrella body representing the collective interests of domestic wine producers in the crowded overseas market, is to make Europeans more aware of the existence of Swiss wine.
"We are trying to bring the wine closer to the customer and to let them taste the wine, because in Switzerland we have wines which are quite different to those you find in other countries," Lehmann explains.
"We can offer some very different, original white wines which can be found nowhere else in the world."
Swiss winemakers produce a total of over 120 million litres of wine each year, only one per cent of which is sold outside the country.
The biggest overseas market for Swiss wine is Germany, while Britain is currently being targeted by exporters as a niche market for the domestic tipple.
"British tourists return [home] knowing the wines from their travels through Switzerland and they would like to find the wines again, so this is something we can work on," Lehmann says.
"So we have some recognition already...but we are still looking to do more."
by Ramsey Zarifeh and Billi Bierling
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