Switzerland and Italy share a very similar wine tradition

Jessika Pini

Switzerland, is the seventh most important market in the world for the import of wine and fifth for per capita consumption. In 2014 the value of imports amounted to 916 million euros and consumption was just less than 3 million hectoliters of wine. With a 36% market share Italian wines are ranked number one in the preference of the Swiss wine consumer, followed by French wines (33%) and Spanish wines (14%). Imports from Italy have a logistical advantage thanks to the proximity of the two countries but most of all Italy and Switzerland share a very similar wine tradition and therefore the consumers have a similar taste.

According to data from the Nomisma Wine Monitor survey, Switzerland is to be considered as a mature wine market, with a per capita consumption of 35.5 liters in 2014, of which 15% from the on-trade channel, compared to the 39,9 liters in 2004, but, despite forecasts for 2018 confirm a decline in consumption (34.7 liters per capita with a CAGR - annual rate of change - of -0.6%), it remains a market of great interest: the consumption of imported wine is equal to two thirds of the total consumption. Sales volume fell by 2% between 2008 and 2014. Between 2013 and 2014 there has been a slight sign of recovery with a 0.4% increase in volume.
According to a Wine Monitor survey, 82% of the Swiss population between 18 and 65 years have consumed wine (at home and/or away from home) at least on one occasion in the last 12 months; among these 23% are frequent consumers (have drunk wine almost every day or 2-3 times a week).

Distribution channels

In Switzerland 53% of wine sales take place in the large-scale distribution channels, 13% in specialized wine shops, and 12% in discount stores. In 2014, the average price for Italian wine exported to Switzerland amounted to approximately € 4.52 per liter (5.83€ for bottled wines). 68% of the above are imported wines and 32% are domestic. The most popular wines among the reds are Pinot Nero (25% of market share), Garnacha (19%), Gamay (17%); while among the whites the most popular is the Chasselas (48%), and Chardonnay (17%). The popularity of Pinot Grigio, a typical Italian product, has been growing in recent years and has reached a market share of 4%.

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