Swiss Wine Regions

Oeil-de-Perdrix

Oeil-de-Perdix is the flagship wine of Neuchâtel. It is a delicate rose wine made from the Pinot noir grape and it is a Neuchâtel speciality - and has been for centuries. Unfortunately the Canton failed to protect it, and as a result you may see the name "Oeil-de-Perdix" on any rose wine from around the world.

Within Switzerland the Oeil-de-Perdix name may only be used on rose made from Pinot noir, and a good Neuchâtel Oeil-de-Perdix will have the typical Pinot noir bouquet.

As a side note, in 1975 a rose wine was made from the Zinfandel grape at the Sutter Home Winery in California. The wine got "stuck" during fermentation, making a sweet, pink wine, which met with great success and little respect. It has been referred to as the "blue haired ladies" wine.

The maker, Bob Trinchero, had wanted to name it "Oeil de Perdrix", but the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) demanded that Trinchero translate the name to avoid confusion for the American public. Since from a marketing point of view "Eye-of-the-Partridge" is fairly meaningless, "White Zinfandel" was born. White evidentially being the least confusing description for a rose.

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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.

Humagne Blanche

Only planted in Valais today, Humagne blanche* is another of the very old Swiss grapes, probably brought in by the Romans. Having a high iron content, and supposedly health-giving properties, this wine was decreed a “health wine” (Krankenwein) for centuries. The old written documents in which this wine is referred to as vinum hum-anum date from the 12th and 14th Centuries. It’s also called Kinderbettenwein or baby crib wine. I’ll bet those kids didn’t have much to cry about.

*no relation to the Humagne Rouge

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.

Wine is sunlight, held together by water!

Galileo Gallilei

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