Swiss Wine Regions

Glossary of V

Varietal

Wines made from a single grape variety.

Vegetal

Smells and tastes in wine that are reminiscent of plants and vegetables (such as Cabernet Sauvignon, which exhibits these qualities that are part of the varietal character).

Velvety

Having rich flavor and a smooth, soft texture.

Vermouth

A fortified wine that has been flavoured with as many as 40 herbs and spices.

Vertical and horizontal wine tasting

In a vertical tasting, different vintages of the same wine type of wine from the one winery are tasted. This emphasizes differences between vintages. In a horizontal tasting, the wines are all from the same vintage but are from different wineries. Keeping wine variety or type and wine region the same helps emphasize differences in winery styles.

Vigneron

French for vine grower.

Vigorous

In wine, a lively taste or feel.

Vigour

A vine’s growth rate.

Vinegar

A sour-tasting, highly acidic (acetic acid), liquid made from the oxidation of ethanol in wine, cider, beer, fermented fruit juice, or nearly any other liquid containing alcohol.

Vineyard

A place where grape vines are grown for wine making purposes.

Vinho verde

An effervescent white wine produced in Portugal.

Viniculture

The art and science of making wine. Also called enology (or oenology). Not to be confused with viticulture.

Vinification

The process of making grape juice into wine.

Vinosity

Wine-tasting term pertaining to the alcoholic strength of a wine and its grape character.

Vintage

The year in which a particular wine’s grapes were harvested. When a vintage year is indicated on a label, it signifies that a minimum percentage of the grapes used to make the wine in the bottle were harvested in that year. Applicable regulatory bodies set the minimum percentage.

Vintner

Winemaker, wine producer or winery proprietor.

Viscous

Thick appearance in wine showing the presence of glycerol.

Viticulture

Viticulture is the study or cultivations or grapes and grapevines. Also called viniculture.

Vitis labrusca

A grape native to North America. It is this root stock that saved the European vine from phylloxera. See also foxy

Vitis Vinifera

The botanical name for the native European grapevine from which most of the world’s quality wine is made.

Volatile

A wine affected by the presence of acetic acid is said to be volatile, or to have volatile acidity (v.a.). In small amounts, this can contribute to complexity, but in excess it gives wine a slightly sour, vinegary edge.

Volatile acidity

The level of acetic acid present within a wine.

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.

Muskat Canelli

Muskat Canelli made its way from Italy to Valais, where it has limited production, and produces a dry white wine.

Amigne

Amigne was brought to Switzerland by the Romans. This grape can also produce a Sauternes-like late harvest wine. These wines are ready to drink in two to three years, but some can be aged.

In vino veritas.

Pliny the Elder

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