«Speciality wines» as well as «liqueur wines», also known as «sweet wines», are generally understood to be wines which differ from ordinary wines by a taste which is more or less sweet and by a higher alcohol content. By using a wide range of processes and technologies, an attempt is made to achieve the desired taste characteristics and a higher alcohol content. A common method for producing sweet wines is the addition of alcohol, either before or during the fermentation of the grape must.
According to the alcohol legislation, «high-grade natural wine» means naturally produced wine made from fresh grapes. The higher alcohol content, more than 18% vol., results exclusively from the fermentation process. For example, frozen grapes or grapes that have been dried on the vine or obtained after harvesting are processed.
The taxation of alcoholic products for human consumption is regulated, inter alia, by Article 23bis of the Alcohol Act. This includes products with added distilled spirits.
It is reduced by 50% and amounts to CHF 14.50 per litre of pure alcohol for products such as:
- Natural wines made of fresh wine grapes with an alcohol content of more than 18% but maximum 22% vol.
- Wines made from fruits, berries or other raw ingredients with an alcohol content of more than 15% but maximum 22% vol.
- Speciality wines, sweet wines, mistelles, vermouth and other wines made of fresh wine grapes, flavoured with plants or other substances, with a maximum alcohol content of 22% vol.
The tax is calculated on the total alcohol content of the finished product, including the alcohol produced by fermentation.
Declaration of production
The manufacture of sweet wines or speciality wines must be reported to the Federal Office für Customs and Border Security, Alcohol Sector as soon as production ceases.