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

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.

Completer

Completer is probably the same grape as Lafnetscha from Haut-Valais. It is a rare indigenous vine to the Gräubunden area. Used in the Valais and Grisons regions to make aromatic wine blends with some aging ability.

Muskat Canelli

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

Wine is at the head of all medicines; where wine is lacking, drugs are necessary.

Talmud

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