by Malcolm Curtis|The Local, Switzerland|September 11, 2102
Winemakers from western Switzerland rolled 40 tractors and several wine barrels along the streets of Bern on Monday in a bid to gain political support for their industry.
The vintners want federal politicians to take action to protect Swiss wine against cheap foreign imports that are threatening to put them out of business.
Around 100 of them decanted their concerns in front of the parliament building as MPs returned from the summer holidays.
The producers, coming from regions such as Valais and Lavaux in the canton of Vaud, want changes to the regulations on importing wine to favour merchants who promote local vintages.
With this year’s grape harvest about to be picked, the wine growers are worried about being unable to sell their products.
“The cellars are full,” the group said in a statement issued for their demonstration, referring to wine unsold from last year.
“There are no buyers. There are no prices.”
Swiss vintners face higher expenses for land and wages than other wine-producing countries.
Because of its relatively high cost, little Swiss wine is exported outside of the country.
But now, domestic sales of wine from Switzerland are proving difficult, particularly given the low rate against the Swiss franc of the euro.
The euro is used by major wine-producing countries such as France, Italy and Spain, which export wine to Switzerland.
A bumper Swiss harvest of grapes last year hasn’t helped.
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