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

Pinot Noir

Genetic studies have revealed that Pinot Noir is probably one of the two ancestors (the other being the humble Gouais) of some of the most important vines cultivated in Europe today. It is certainly a particularly ancient variety, and originally from Burgundy. Pinot Noir, with its associated clones, is found all over Switzerland, but it is only in the eastern region that it dominates production. It is either produced as a varietal or blended with other grapes. These blends are known as Salvagnin in Vaud and Dôle in Valais. Depending on where it is grown, it can produce a wine that is either light and fruity, or rich and full-bodied.

Marsanne Blanche

Originally from the steep slopes of the Côtes-du-Rhône, the Marsanne blanche grape found its way up the Rhone to Valais in Switzerland, and is known here under the name of Ermitage (or Hermitage).

Altesse

More appreciated on its home turf between Lyon and Lake Geneva, it thrives in Valais

Cabernet will rape you and pinot noir seduces you. ... Cabernet will throw you down and rip your clothes off, and pinot noir subtly convinces you to take them off yourself.

Old French Saying

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