Swiss Wine Regions

Glossary of C


Calcareous soils are alkaline, composed of calcium carbonate.

California cult wines

Certain California wines for which consumers and others pay higher prices than those of Bordeaux’s First Growths (Premiers Crus).


The above-ground parts of the vine, especially the shoots and leaves.

Canopy management

A range of viticultural techniques used to manipulate the vine canopy. This is done for vine shape, interception of sunlight and disease control.


The thick cap of grape skins floating on top of the fermenting red wine.


The plastic or foil that covers the cork and part of the neck of a wine bottle.

Carbon dioxide

The gas given off during fermentation which is responsible for the bubbles in sparkling wines.

Carbonic Maceration

When whole bunches of grapes are allowed to ferment to produce an early-maturing wine style, such as Beaujolais.

Carbonic maceration

A winemaking practice of fermenting whole grapes that have not been crushed.


To age wine for the purpose of improvement or storage. Cellaring may occur in any area which is cool (12-15° Celsius).


A wine shed, or other storage place above ground, used for storing casks, common in Bordeaux. Usually different types of wine are kept in separate sheds.


Champagne is a sparkling wine made by the Méthode Champenoise. Sparkling wine may only be called Champagne if it comes from the Champagne region of France.

Champagne flute

A piece of stemware having a long stem with a tall, narrow bowl on top.


A winemaking process where sugar is added to the must to increase the alcohol content in the fermented wine. This is often done when grapes have not ripened adequately.

Charmat process

The Charmat or bulk process is a method where sparkling wines receive their secondary fermentation in large tanks, rather than individual bottles as seen in Méthode Champenoise


Generally a winery in Bordeaux, although the term is sometimes used for wineries in other parts of the world, such as the Barossa Valley.


Describes rich, tannic wines that seem to be thick and full in the mouth. A positive quality in many red wines.


British name for Bordeaux wine. Is also a semi-generic term for a red wine in similar style to that of Bordeaux.


To make a wine clear through fining, filtration and refrigeration.


In Australia, wine bottled without a commercial label, usually sold cheaply in bulk quantities.


A grape variety which has undergone some genetic adaptation from the original.


An excessively sweet wine that may seem to be out of balance due to low acidity.

Cold Duck

A mixture of red and white sparkling wine that has a high sugar content.

Cold stabilization

A winemaking process where wine is chilled to near freezing temperatures for several weeks to encourage the precipitation of tartrate crystals.


In wine, an extremely important indicator of quality and condition. Darker colors in whites usually indicate older wines, while red wines tend to turn a tawny, brick red color with age.


A combination of richness, depth of flavor, intensity, balance, harmony and finesse. An essential element in all great wines (and most good ones).


A wine bottle stopper made from the thick outer bark of the cork oak tree.

Cork taint

A type of wine fault describing undesirable aromas and flavors in wine often attributed to mold growth on chlorine bleached corks.


A wine with an off-flavor caused by trichloroanisole (TCA) in the cork. Generally described as moldy, it effects about 3% of wines worldwide.


A tool, comprising a pointed metallic helix attached to a handle, for drawing corks from bottles.

Country wine

Semi-sparkling wine; slightly effervescent. Also called frizzante.


French sparkling wine not made in Champagne region.


Sediment, generally potassium bitartrate, that adheres to the inside of a wine bottle.

Cult wines

Wines for which committed buyers will pay large sums of money.


Another term for grape variety.


A large vat used for fermentation.


The pressing, or a blending of several wines.

Glossary by Letter

  • A (21)
  • B (36)
  • C (38)
  • D (17)
  • E (8)
  • F (24)
  • G (5)
  • H (7)
  • I (4)
  • J (2)
  • K (1)
  • L (10)
  • M (25)
  • N (5)
  • O (10)
  • P (23)
  • Q (1)
  • R (13)
  • S (31)
  • T (21)
  • U (2)
  • V (22)
  • W (11)
  • Y (2)
  • Z (1)

The Wine Grapes of Switzerland


Developed in Germany by Prof. Müller (from Thurgau), this early maturing white grape variety is one of the principal white grapes cultivated in German-speaking Switzerland. Produces elegant, aromatic wines when grown in cool temperate climates. In warmer locations these qualities tend to be masked by a certain heaviness and lack of acidity.


Fendant is a protected designation and may only be used in Valais for wines made from the Chasselas grape. In contrast to its native France, where it wasn’t too successful as a wine grape, the Chasselas shines in Switzerland.


Named after local poet and physician, Justinus Kerner, the Kerner grape was hybridized in 1929 in Lauffen in the Württemberg region. A hybrid of the white Riesling and the red Trollinger (Schiava grossa), it resembles the Riesling in character. It is being vinified in limited quantities in Valais, but its future in Valais dosen’t look too bright. It continues to do well in Germany, and on a smaller basis in Austria and Italy.

Age appears to be best in four things--old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read.

L. Bacon

Swiss Alps, cows, wine bottle and large clock face in Bern, Switzerland

Fine Swiss Wine

Discover Switzerland’s odd grapes, small producers, and eclectic tastes