Why Switzerland is paying producers to sell gourmet wine on the cheap

Switzerland’s wineries will receive 10 million francs from the government to repackage their gourmet product, unsold due to the coronavirus lockdown, and sell it as cheaper table wines.

Switzerland’s Department for Economic Affairs, Education and Research said on Wednesday it would be establishing a multi-million franc fund to assist the Swiss wine industry which has been decimated by the coronavirus crisis. 

A 10 million franc fund will be set up to encourage makers of gourmet or luxury wines to repackage their product for sale as cheaper wines. 

The wines have received the ‘controlled designation of origin’ (appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC)) designation, which applies only to wines which have complied with strict geographical and production standards. 

READ: 19 mildly interesting facts about Swiss wine 

The wine, usually sold in restaurants and bars, can cost in the hundreds of francs, but has failed to sell due to coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

It is expected to be sold as table wines or to be used in the food industry. 

A great time to be a Swiss table wine enthusiast. Photo by mali maeder from Pexels 

How will the scheme work? 

From June 1st, the fund will be made available to winemakers in all Swiss wine-growing cantons. 

A total fund of CHF10 million will be made available from the Federal Council – but the government has encouraged individual Swiss cantons to chip in more in order to ensure all wine growers are protected. 

Winegrowers will receive CHF2 for each litre of downgraded wine with an AOC designation. 

The financial support will be divided proportionally to the vineyards of the cantons, thus creating the same conditions for all Swiss wine producers. 

In addition to the CHF10 million fund, additional money has previously been made available to wine growers for sales and promotion.

In order to receive the funding, winegrowers will also be required to reduce the maximum yields for the 2020 harvest. A maximum of 1.2 kilograms per square metre for white wine and 1 kilogram for red wine per square metre will be allowed. 

 


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