Swiss Wine Regions

Swiss Wine: Hidden Treasure

Swiss wine, cow bells and the Swiss AlpsCoveted, praised or abused, wine has been studied, debated, fought over, sung about and worshipped from the loftiest pedestals to the grimiest gutters. Originally I was writing about wine in general, for my personal blog, and since I now live in Switzerland it was inevitable that Swiss wine became a topic. Then one day, looking up a couple details about Swiss wine, it was like finding a cleverly packed, pint-sized treasure box. And that I think sums up the Swiss wine industry nicely.

Switzerland is small. Being covered with mountains, lakes and forests, not to mention people, railroads and banks, doesn't leave much room for wine grapes. Yet crammed in this limited space there are over 100 varieties of grapes used in Swiss wine, and even with a single grape you find a diversity of styles, from subtle, elegant wines suitable for the wittiest conversations, to hearty reds at home at a medieval feast, and succulent, honey tinged Ice wines that rival the best Sauternes.

Starting in ancient history, and there is evidence that grapes were cultivated almost 3000 years ago in Valais, the Swiss wine story is a page-turner. It has elements of mystery, romance, greed, intrigue and, I hope that if I look hard enough: sex…and who hasn't resorted to a bottle of wine in pursuit thereof?

The more I investigated the more I got hooked, and also frustrated. There's lots of general information on wine in books, magazines and the Internet, but very little information to be found specifically about Swiss wine. Luckily there are a couple non-English sites about Swiss wine, some are obvious labors of love, and I am indebted to these sites as they where helpfull in getting me started. More importantly they planted the seed which you see developing on this website.  

With Fine Swiss Wine, I want to create a website where someone interested in Swiss wine, like me, could find what they're looking for (except the sex maybe). This website has some general wine information, but mostly it's about the surprisingly diverse offering of Swiss wine. And since my research should get me looking around the country, I will also feature Swiss wine related sightseeing tours, tips and events. Where these events are "suitable for families" [sic]: I will provide ample warning.

"In a civilized country they drink wine."— Charlie Chaplin

The Wine Grapes of Switzerland

Arvine

Another delivery from Rome, there are actually three Arvine grape varieties, only two used for wine production: Grand Arvine, with the larger berries, and Petit Arvine, with the, you guessed it, smaller berries. The unloved Arvine brune has faded from the scene. Grand Arvine gets criticized for displaying little character, whereas the Petit Arvine tends to have a fuller bouquet and lower acidity. In blind tasting, Petit Arvine generally kicks ass against its plumper brother. Arvine is also an excellent grape for late harvest wine, which can be cellared.

Muskat Canelli

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

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.

Water for oxen, wine for kings.

Spanish 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