Valais vineyards: money for modernization – News


In Valais, many families have a piece of vine, but it is hardly profitable. Therefore, parcels should be merged. The canton wants to invest 170 million francs.

The Valais wine-growing region resembles a patchwork quilt. In Switzerland’s largest wine-producing canton, everything is structured on a small scale: there are around 75,000 plots on 4,600 hectares of vineyards. The canton now wants to change that and break up these historically grown structures.


From a bird’s eye view, the Valais vineyards look like a patchwork quilt.

Keystone/Gaetan Bally

The main problem is that such small plots are only partially profitable, says Valais State Councilor Christophe Darbellay (Die Mitte). “On average, a plot of land is 600 square meters in size, and these sizes cannot be farmed profitably.” This is partly because machines can only be used to a limited extent in these small areas.

170 million for “vineyard of the 21st century”

This means that a lot of winemaking in Valais is still done by hand. That’s why the canton wants to ensure that the plots become larger so that this can change. And that’s where the money comes into play. 170 million francs will be distributed over the next 15 years.

Anyone who wants to benefit from this must have at least a 3,000 square meter plot of land. So many people have to combine plots. Exceptions are possible in Upper Valais because the vineyard plots there are even smaller than in the rest of the canton. If topographically it is not otherwise possible, support is also available for 1000 square meter plots.

The winegrowers still bear the brunt.

Of the 170 million francs, the canton subsidizes 53 million francs as À-fonds-perdu contributions. This money does not have to be paid back.

A lot of money for a single industry

The Valais Parliament discussed the corresponding change in the law and the framework credit and approved both. Virtually unanimously, all parties spoke in favor of it, but not all with enthusiasm. Because there is a lot of money flowing into a single industry.

Too much money for a single industry? State Councilor Christophe Darbellay counters: “The winegrowers still bear the main burden.” The canton helps so that they can help themselves.

View of the Valais vineyards.


The canton’s goal is for Valais wine to remain competitive in the future.

SRF/Roger Brunner

The money will be used to support several measures. For example, that farmers can buy grape varieties that are adapted to climate change. Or that they invest in drip irrigation, which requires less water than traditional irrigation.

The aim of these measures is clear: Valais wine should remain competitive in the future.

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