Naturally, markets in Switzerland and Germany - like all world markets - have been affected by COVID-19 and its consequences for many months. On the one hand, the restaurant and hotel sector suffered heavy losses in turnover as a result of the lockdown; on the other, consumption at home grew strongly, which benefited the specialist trade sector and above all supermarkets. This trend also ensured that brands with a strong presence in supermarkets also saw increased sales during the 2020-2021 crisis. Supermarkets in Germany and - above all - Switzerland are generally very well stocked with quality wines and are unquestionably comparable to specialist retailers.
As for types of wine, Prosecco DOC or Prosecco Superiore DOCG and certain selected white wine labels (Lugana) are still on the road to success on the German market, whereas in Switzerland red wines from renowned growing areas in Italy such as Barolo or Barbaresco or Valpolicella (with Amarone and Ripasso) have earned a strong market position. However, in both countries there is also a growing trend towards drinking lighter wines with low alcohol content, whereby white and rosé wines are particularly popular. Sparkling wines are also a trend, although consumers in Germany purchase wines in a lower price range than in Switzerland. Wines made in accordance with organic criteria are by now a standard: they are no longer seen as a separate category but rather as an added value for purchase decisions.
Natural wines (orange wines, amphorae, wines made in accordance with bio-dynamic criteria) are a separate category, some of which are sold in specialist stores for people who mainly prefer this type of product. The market for sweet wines (raisin wines etc.) is still difficult.
E-commerce will clearly be a major trend in coming years: Not the least as an outcome of the pandemic and the lockdown, consumers in Germany and Switzerland have become accustomed to shopping online and comparing prices offered by different suppliers.
Consumption at home expanded during the pandemic: wine in Switzerland is mainly enjoyed with meals as well as, like Germany, as an aperitif or meditation wine. After the end of the restrictions, however, the restaurant and hotel sectors in both countries are recover ground again.
Italian wine still enjoys an excellent reputation in Germany and Switzerland. However, German consumers purchase wines in lower price ranges than Swiss consumers. Even in this context, there is still a distinction whereby fine red wines have a strong market position in Switzerland, while Prosecco-like and white wines are stronger in Germany. German consumers also has very strong product loyalty, while Swiss wine lovers are more willing to experiment and try wines from emerging new areas - such as Etna DOC. If quality is constant and competitive with market leaders (Barolo, Barbaresco, Tuscan wines, Amarone) in terms of value for money, these emerging wines are achieving established positions on the market.
Photo by Alexander Skimmeck on Unplash