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Early start to Swiss harvest

Swiss winemakers have begun harvesting weeks ahead of schedule after water shortages throughout the year.

In what seems to be a common trend this year when one considers Bordeaux, Champagne and the rest of France, Swiss producers began harvesting their Pinot Noir and Cornalin plots three weeks earlier than normal.

The level of concentration was such (100 to 150 degrees Oeschle) that the grapes could not be left any longer. The harvest for other varieties is beginning this week.

The Valais in particular has suffered very dry conditions throughout the year with only limited rainfall in July. The snows last winter were also not sufficient and certain rivers and lakes, including Lake Constance, have been at their lowest level for over 50 years.

Further reports mention that the glaciers have shown signs of melting.

Despite the apparent drama of these statements, Gérard Philippe Mabillard, director of l’Interprofession de la Vigne et du Vin du Valais, told the drinks business that the producers themselves are confident that the year will be good.

The dry conditions have meant that there is a near complete lack of rot in the crop and the concentration, while requiring careful handling, will lead to powerful wines much like those of 2009.

Look out for more on the Swiss wine industry in a future edition of the drinks business.

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