Frost, hail and mildew has plagued Swiss wine in 2021

Frost, hail and mildew has plagued Swiss wine in 2021

Bad weather conditions throughout 2021 have led to a poor harvesting season for Swiss wine, but winemakers say all is not lost.

Poor weather at exactly the wrong time for wine in Switzerland

After three excellent years for wine production, winemakers in Switzerland are struggling with poor weather conditions, fungus and mildew as they try to harvest all they can before winter. Speaking to the Basler Zeitung, viticulture commissioner Urs Weingartner said that wine production will decrease by 20 percent in the wine-producing regions around Lausanne, Basel and Geneva this year.

Weingartner said that the harvest had been hit by a “chain of unfavourable circumstances", and that exactly the wrong weather hit at precisely the wrong time. In April, budding vines could not sprout properly due to high amounts of spring frost. The next stage (where grape buds begin to show) saw vines hit by hailstorms, before finally being struck by heavy rain in midsummer, which caused mildew and fungus to damage them further.

Hope for milder autumn amongst Swiss winemakers

Weingartner said that more fragile grapes could not withstand the “permanent wetness” during the summer and most farmers could not protect their vines from harm. The current harvest has seen far lower yields than the last three years, where weather conditions were perfect for winemaking.

He concluded that the next few months were crucial to ensure the quality of the grapes, and is hopeful that a hotter, drier September will allow winemakers to harvest their grapes at the right time. To reassure wine drinkers around Switzerland, despite yields being lower, he said that 2021 could turn out to be a “very good vintage."

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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