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The unmistakable sound of visitors to Expovina getting down to some serious sampling. Organisers don‘t know exactly how much wine is sold here but put the figure at around CHF30 million. Bruno Sauter has run Expovina since 1991 when he took over from his father who founded the fair 55 years ago.
SAUTER: “We expect 60-65,000 visitors this year. That’s a bit less than in the past but don’t forget the competition is unbelievably huge.”
Swiss owned winery Vina Robles in California is represented here. The story began in 1996 when Swiss restaurateur and developer, Hans Nef, bought the land that would become the estate. It now consists of 500 acres of vineyards. Here’s Peter Hess who represents Vina Robles.
HESS: “At the moment, they sell about 90% of the grapes to other wineries and use just the best quality grapes for their own production for the black label of Vina Robles. And they produce about 200,000 bottles per year.”
Heidi Steiner Richli and her husband run a winery in Osterfingen in canton Schaffhausen. From their 7.7 hectares, they produce about 50-60,000 litres a year.
RICHLI: “She says it’s a good year. We have got very ripe,grapes in cellar and we have just harvested the last ones, Merlot. Now it just needs time and expertise and we hope that something good comes out of it again.”
Switzerland produces about 100 million litres of wine annually on about 15,000 hectares. Most of it comes from the western part of the country with a third of all production in Canton Valais. Othmar Stäheli is editor of the Swiss Wine Magazine and spokesman for Expovina:
STÄHELI: “Previously, Switzerland was a white wine country. In the past 20 years that’s changed and it is now 45% white and 55% red wine.
As the empty bottles at Expovina testify, there is not much left to export once domestic demand has been satisifed. Exports account for less than one per cent of all Swiss production.