Swiss Wine Regions

Luzern; a Geological Mixed Bag

Luzern collageWine lives in the heart of Switzerland, and the heart of Switzerland is Zentralschweiz; the historic and mythological origin of the Swiss Confederation. It's here that on November 18, 1307, as punishment for his defiance, William Tell was forced to shoot an apple off his son's head. Tell's defiance kindled the revolt that ultimately led to the formation of the Swiss Confederation.

In the heart of Zentralschweiz is Luzern (Lucerne). The sunny slopes of the vineyards here are concentrated in the wine sub-regions of Seetal, Vierwaldstättersee, Wiggertal and Sempachersee. Two lakes provide a regulating influence to the climate across the area and the varied geology gives the wine of the sub-regions subtle variations in character.

The biggest wine sub-region in canton Luzern is Seetal. Here, the high concentrations of limestone give the wine a sturdy structure.

In Vierwaldstättersee, the Föhn (warm southerly wind said to cause headaches and erratic behavior) encourages early budding of the grapevines and optimal ripening of the grapes. Add the rich soil and the result is a Swiss wine with finesse and elegance.

Wiggertal has the warmest and driest zones in canton Luzern. The high clay content of soil on the steep southern slopes of the vineyards offer the ideal conditions for grapevines, producing a variety of Swiss wines with character.

The smallest wine sub-region in Luzern is Sempachersee. It's also the newest. The vineyards on the moraine hills benefit from well draining soil and the many hours of sunshine, yielding harmonious and balanced wines.

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The Wine Grapes of Switzerland

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.

Kerner

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.

Cabernet franc

Cabernet franc, one of the Bordeaux grapes, is a bit like the little brother of the Cabernet sauvignon grape. Cabernet franc is usually used for blending.

Burgundy for Kings, Champagne for Duchesses, and claret for Gentlemen

French 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