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The Romans planted around the turn of the century vines in the area of Basel and Windisch and founded the wine. In the 6th century AD monks from Burgundy founded the monastery of St. Maurice near Aigle in the canton of Vaud and cultivated vineyards. In the middle of the 8th century, vineyards are in the Churer Rheintal and on occupied. As elsewhere in Europe, viticulture in the Middle Ages of the cultivated. These founded the monastery Hautcrèt Palézieux and laid in 1142 the first terraced vineyard on Lake Geneva in the canton Waadt at. The area Dézaley is still one of the best appellations in Switzerland today. From the beginning of the Confederation of the three cantons of Schwyz, Uri and Unterwalden in 1291 to the 18th century, wine production increased steadily. Around the year 1850, the vineyards, at around 35,000 hectares, more than doubled as they do today. In the 19th century, viticulture suffered a decline by foreign competition, as well as by the and the Mehltau , which also reached Switzerland as one of the last European countries. After the Second World War, there was an upswing again.
Switzerland is (after ) the most mountainous country in Europe and the Alps with their foothills also strongly characterize viticulture. The vineyards are located mainly at the beginning of the three major river valleys Rhône in the west, Rhine in the north and Po in the south. In these valleys and along the many lakes are many vineyards on glacial moraines with mostly terraced steep slopes up to 70% slope. The one at the church Visperterminen lying vineyard Riebe at 1,100 meters above sea level is the Central Europe. Especially on the southern side of the Alps with the largest winegrowing area Wallis There is a lot of sunshine, but relatively little rainfall. Only in the south Tessin is very rainy. Linguistically, Switzerland is divided into the three wine-growing regions of Western Switzerland (French Switzerland with three-quarters of the vineyard), eastern Switzerland (German Switzerland - the "land of red country wines" and smallest area) and Ticino in the south (Italian Switzerland). For this reason, German, Italian and French influences are reflected in the diverse wine culture.
Slightly more than half of the total area is occupied by red wines. The most common are Pinot Noir (Pinot Noir) and Gamay, only in Italian Switzerland (Ticino) clearly dominates Merlot with over 80%. Chasselas clearly dominates white wines (also called Dorin, Fendant and Perlan), followed by Müller-Thurgau (here Riesling x Sylvaner) - with the name was the Swiss viticulture pioneer dr. Hermann Müller-Thurgau (1850-1927) set a monument. In Eastern Switzerland (German-speaking Switzerland), there is almost a monoculture, dominated here, the red wine Pinot Noir with about 70% of the area. The planted after the phylloxera disaster Americano make up about 15% share and are specially for Ticino and Grappa used. As become the numerous old ones Grape varieties referred to, which are mainly cultivated in the canton of Valais. Of the 2010 (ex Kym Anderson ):
In 2012, the vineyard covered 15,000 hectares, of which 1.004 million hectoliters of wine were produced (see in this regard a worldwide statistics under ). Switzerland produces excellent wines in many variants. The only reason they may not be so well-known outside the country is that they are consumed almost exclusively in the country and even twice as much must be imported. In most cases, the wines are named after the community (many have AOC status) in which they are produced. There are 26 political cantons, 17 of which are viticulture. Many do not have their own wine regulations, so not every canton has its own wine region. The six wine regions are the cantons of Geneva, Ticino, Vaud and Valais, as well as the German-speaking part of Switzerland (with 17 cantons) and the cross-border Three Lakes region. The wine cantons or wine regions:
1990 was in the canton Wallis The first Swiss wine-growing region to introduce a quality wine hierarchy. In the past, it was largely up to the winemaker to decide what information he labels. In general, these were community and / or or grape varieties or one , The Swiss wine legislation provides for three wine categories:
Under category I are " "designation of origin" means the name of a canton or geographical area of a canton. Under certain conditions, the cantons can extend individual areas beyond the cantonal borders. The individual cantons lay down rules on territorial boundaries, authorized vine varieties, minimum must content per variety, maximum yield per variety, methods of cultivation, methods of wine preparation and a system for and as a prerequisite for marketing.
The Mostgewichte must at least 15.2 (Western Switzerland) or 15.8 ° for white wines Brix (German-speaking Switzerland, Ital. Switzerland), as well as reach at least 17 ° Brix for red wines. The may be a maximum of 1.4 kg / m² (1.2 ital. Switzerland) for white wine varieties and a maximum of 1.2 kg / m² (1.0 ital. Switzerland) for red wine varieties. For category I wines only the following terms are permitted: (Vendange tardive, Vendemmia tardiva), (Selection, Selezione), Beerenauslese (Sélection de grains nobles), Trockenbeerenauslese . Eiswein (Vin de glace), Beerliwein . Flétri (Flétri sur souche), Oeil de Perdrix (Rose), Strohwein (Passerillé, Sforzato), Süßdruck (Pressé doux) - also for Landwein, Village (s) and (Glacial wine).
Although almost 90% of all Swiss wines have or could have AOC status, the term is currently of minor importance in Switzerland. Many cantons do not yet have their own rules, but they are satisfied with the above general federal decree. In some cantons such as Waadt and Wallis there is the even higher level Grand Cru which is used for privileged situations. In the canton of Vaud, there is the special Terravin-Prämierung in gold and platinum for top-class plants.
The category II includes denoted by the name of the country or part of the country greater than that of a canton. The must weights must reach at least 14.4 ° Brix for white wine varieties and at least 15.2 ° Brix for red wines. The yields may be a maximum of 1.8 kg / m² for white wine varieties and a maximum of 1.6 kg / m² for red wines.
Category III as the lowest quality level are simple wines ( ), which come from grapes harvested in Switzerland and whose must weights for white wine varieties reach at least 13.6 ° Brix, and for red wines at least 14.4 ° Brix.