Expovina – Wänn Gaasch Ufs Wyschiff?

It’s that time of year again where the ground is covered in golden leaves and a blanket of grey is pulled over the city to be occasionally lifted to reveal one of the most regal blue skies anywhere on this earth: autumn in Zurich. Autumn brings with it more than just a change in the weather, but also a wonderful variety of local produce at the local markets from apples to pumpkins. Across from the Tuesday market at Bürkliplatz, one sees twelve ships anchored and masses of people moving between them. Yes, the wine ships of the EXPOVINA are back. This year Switzerland’s preeminent wine festival and exhibition celebrates it’s 57th year. If you have not yet experienced the EXPOVINA, it is an experience not to be missed.

The EXPOVINA was founded in 1953 by the Zürich shop owner J.F. Sauter. The first “Wyschiff” — dialect for wine ship — was the Linth. In that first year 6000 guests visited the single ship to discover new wines. Alongside the typical Swiss varietals of Fendant, Dôle and Dorin one would have found some wines from Bordeaux, Burgundy, Châteauneuf-du-Pape as well as South Tirol and Valpolicella. The selection and size was definitely limited in comparison to today, but for back then it presented a once a year chance to taste so many different wines all at one location. It quickly became a Zürcher institution.

The EXPOVINA grew steadily from year to year. As the number of wines being presented increased so did the number of ships. By 1964 the event had grown to include 6 ships featuring 66 producers and importers exhibiting approximately 600 wines. By 1981 there

were eleven ships anchored at Zurich’s wine harbour.  The twelfth ship was added in 2000. Today on the 12 ships docked at Bürkliplatz some 80000 guests visit to try more than 4000 wines from over 24 countries.

The only question now is: “Wänn gaasch ufs Wyschiff?” (when are you going on the wine ship?).

The EXPOVINA runs from November 4-18, 2010. It is open daily from 12 - 10pm except Sundays 12 - 7pm. Entry costs 20 CHF, but is free between 12 - 1pm.

Here are a few tips that will help make your visit more enjoyable and possibly save your bank account:


    1. Use the guide book to locate stands with wines that you would like to try.


    1. Go on at least two days (one day white wines, one day red wines)


    1. There is no shame in spitting (if there is a bucket) or emptying out a wine you don’t like or from which the pour was simply too large.


    1. Know your budget. Many of the people at the stands want to sell wine. The turnover at the EXPOVINA is estimated at around 30 million Franks.


    1. Allow the server / sales person to guide you. It is frowned upon to just go and taste the most expensive wines that you have no intent on buying. However, if you taste a variety of wines you will generally be offered a taste of the best wines and sometimes even an unlisted wine.


    1. If you have no intent on buying, it is best not to stay too long at any one counter.


    1. Check your coat and bags. It gets very hot in the boats, especially at night.


    1. Be open to trying new grape varietals and regions: youmight discover your new favourite.


Though most of the people working on the wine boats are quite capable in both German and English and often French and Italian here are a few words in German with their English Translations:\n

















*Note: Because it is “der Wein” in German, German speaking people will often refer to the wine as he and not it.

Written by Christian Langenegger, co-founder of Marathon Sprachen

Else-Züblin-Strasse 99

8404 Winterthur


Tel: +41 (0)52 242 31 29

E-Mail: marathon.sprachen@me.com

Homepage: www.marathonsprachen.com

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Twitter: @marathonsprache

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