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

Vieux Muscat du Pays

A very old small berry Valais grape, difficult to cultivate. It is an aromatic specialty limited almost exclusively to Valais. Some clone or mutation of the Muscat is grown on almost every continent.

Bondola

An indigenous and ancient red grape from Ticino, Bondola has slightly higher acidity and lower alcohol, and produces a good simple table wine, often called Nostrano.

Rèze

Rèze is an extremely rare white variety found only in Valais. Not often produced as a varietal, Rèze is blended with other Vieux Plants of Valais. Rèze was also used to make the historic “vin des glaciers”, an amber colored wine produced in Val d’Anniviers using the solera technique.

No longer done today, one method in the past was to store Rèze in larch wood barrels, which gave the wine resinous flavor similar to the Greek Retsina, and masking some grape flavor.

Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart.

Ecclesiastes

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