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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Chandra Kurt

Peace-loving Swiss wine drinkers are causing headaches for US wine distributors, who are finding it increasingly difficult to sell Californian wine in Switzerland. Most of the major supermarkets reported a drop in sales of about 10% at the end of 2002. Caves Mvenpick, one of Switzerland's leading marketers and distributors, lost many of its customers, causing a drop in turnover in December of 7%. We can't gain new customers for these wines. They prefer to buy Australian brands instead. More even than South American,' said CEO Ueli Eggenberger. The reasons for this change in the market are twofold: consumers are upset about Bush's Iraq policy and are boycotting American wines in protest; and prices of Californian wines are high and have continued to increase even after September 11 and the economic recession. Speculation about the future of Californian sales in Switzerland is that prices will drop, promotions of big brands will increase and middle-range wines from SFr20 to 35 (8-14) will disappear from the market. The richer members of Swiss society, however, don't seem quite as peacenik as their poorer counterparts: PickPay took less than 24 hours to sell a couple of thousand bottles of Opus One for SFr199 (79.60) a bottle.