Swiss Wine Regions

Glossary of O

Oak

Quality picked up by wines fermented and/or stored in oak barrels. American oak gives a more intense vanilla and coconut flavor, while French oak gives a delicate vanilla, cedar and butterscotch character.

Oak chips

Small pieces of oak wood used in place of oak barrels in fermenting and/or ageing wine.

Oechsle

The German measure for the sugar concentration in grape juice or wine.

Oenology

The science of wine and winemaking.

Oenophile

A wine aficionado or connoisseur.

Off-dry

A wine that has the barest hint of sweetness; a slightly sweet wine in which the residual sugar is barely perceptible.

Old vine

Wine produced from vines that are notably old.

Old World wine

Wines produced inside of the traditional wine growing areas of Europe and North Africa.

Oxidation

Exposure to oxygen causes wine to go brown and flat. Oxidation creates bitterness and destroys flavour.

Oxygen

A gas vital for the growth of yeast. A small amount of oxygen is important at the start of fermentation. Too high a concentration of oxygen will lead to oxidation of the wine causing a loss of color, flavor and aroma.

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

Sémillon

Hard to believe that Sémillon’s main claim to fame is its propensity to rot, but because of its soft skin Sémillon is prone to Botrytis cinerea (a.k.a. “noble rot”). The “rot” concentrates the acid and sugar in the grape, and the resulting wine can be complex, rich, sweet, and aromatic. In short: pretty damn nice. The best known of this sweet style wine is Sauternes, coming from the Sauternais region of the Graves, near Bordeaux in France.

Sémillon can also make an elegant dry white wine, but since it can be short on acidity, it is often vinified with Sauvignon blanc.

Nobling

Nobling is a cross between Silvaner and Chassalas from Staatliches Weinbauinstitut at Freiburg. It’s being tested in Valais and can be found in retail.

Cabernet Sauvignon

A classic international variety, Cabernet Sauvignon is marginally cultivated in Geneva, Vaud, Valais and Ticino. Besides being vinified as a varietal, it is blended with other Bordeaux grape varieties, or with old Valais varieties.

Water for oxen, wine for kings.

Spanish Proverb

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