A report this week shows how extreme weather led to Switzerland’s worst grape harvest since 1957.
Switzerland’s grape harvest last year produced only 61 million litres of wine, 36% below the 10-year average of 95 million litres. In the canton of Valais, Switzerland’s biggest producer, the harvest was half of what it normally is. Some producers in the canton lost 100% of their harvests.
First, the coldest night time frosts in 20 years hit the vines in April, delaying growth. These were then followed by exceptionally heavy rain, which devastated vines by promoting fungal diseases, such as mildew.
Good fortune arrived in summer in some regions. Despite huge losses, the grapes that survived enjoyed an exceptional summer allowing for optimal ripening delivering grapes with a good balance between sweetness and acidity. However, in other regions summer brought more crop damage from storms, heavy rain and hail.
According to OFAG, unfavourable weather conditions are becoming more and more frequent. Not only was 2021 the worst year since 1957, three of the last five preceding years were also among the worst.