Switzerland produces around 90 million litres of wine a year, placing it among the top 25 largest wine makers in the world. Other nations producing similar amounts of wine include Georgia, Ukraine and Japan.
Switzerland has a long history of wine making and many of its own grape varieties. Müller-Thurgau, a well-known white wine grape is named after a Swiss viticulture professor named Hermann Müller from the Swiss canton of Thurgau. In German-speaking Switzerland Müller-Thurgau is often called Riesling x Sylvaner, a name reflecting the origins of the grape which resulted from Müller’s crossbreeding experiments during the late nineteenth century. It is also called Rivaner in other parts of Europe.
Wine production is not spread evenly across Switzerland. The country has a total of 14,600 hectares of vineyards concentrated in the west.
Valais and Vaud are the biggest wine growing regions, making up around 58% of Switzerland’s vineyards between them. Geneva and Ticino, make up a further 17%. However, grapes are grown in most corners of the country.
French-speaking Switzerland is home to 74% of Swiss vineyards, German-speaking Switzerland 18% and Italian-speaking Switzerland the remaining 8%. Vineyards in Italian-speaking Switzerland are found in Ticino and the small Italian-speaking enclave of Mesocco in the canton of Graubunden.