Grape Harvest Plummets in Swiss Region of Valais

Vineyards in Valais, Switzerland.

© Céline Ribordy

Vines Valais

Vineyards in Valais, Switzerland.

© Céline Ribordy

Like across many wine regions in Europe, the last year has not been an easy one for vineyards in the Swiss canton of Valais. After the frost in April, extreme weather events brought hail and flooding in the summer, causing enormous damage. In addition, the rainy weather favoured an explosive spread of downy mildew, a fungal disease.

The vineyards of Valais account for a third of the total wine production in Switzerland, making it the largest wine producing region. Although the final figures for the 2021 harvest will not be known until January 2022, the Valais Wine Association (BWW) has already asked its members for an initial interim assessment. These are based on only half of an average year and thus indicate a historic low in harvest yields.

However, the scale of the losses varies hugely. Some growers fear losing up to 90% of their harvest, which is why the winegrowers' association has already appealed to the Swiss Confederation and the Valais cantonal government. Despite the large losses, however, there are enough Valais wines available: "The effects of a weak harvest can be offset over several vintages. In addition, we have a wide variety of grape varieties in the Valais, so we will be able to make interesting offers in the future as well," says Yvan Aymon, president of the BWW.

Good quality and concentrated aromas

The grapes that were spared the ravages of the weather this year, however, promise excellent quality, according to the industry association's survey. They were harvested later than usual and thus are full-flavoured. In addition, the grapes show a pleasant ripeness and a fine balance of sugar and acid content.

Swiss Wine Valais

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