Swiss Wine Regions

Wine Classification

Vermouth

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

Trockenbeerenauslese

German for dry berry selected. A type of German wine made from vine-dried grapes. Such grapes can be so rare that it can take a skilled picker a day to gather enough for just one bottle.

T.B.A.

An abbreviation for the German wine Trockenbeerenauslese.

Table wine

Generally any wine that is not a sparkling wine or a fortified wine. In the US these wines must also be between 7% and 14% alcohol by volume.

The Wine Grapes of Switzerland

Merlot

Imported from the Bordeaux region, Merlot has found a second home in Ticino where it performs extremely well. Later-ripening than the other main Swiss varieties, it is hardly present in other areas. Merlot red wines are racy, tannic and richly colored. A white wine from this black grape, commercialized as Merlot Bianco, gives quite interesting results and is increasingly popular with producers and consumers alike.

Chénin blanc

The versatile “Pinot de la Loire” produces some fine wine in Valais. Like the Chasselas, it provides a neutral canvas for the winemaker’s art and terroir. Originating in the Loire valley of France, it has no relation or similarity to Pinot blanc.

Freisamer

The Freisamer plays more of a role in Graubünden but has a small presence in a few other cantons. It’s a hybrid of Silvaner x Pinot gris, developed in Freiburg in the Breisgau region. A temperamental grape that puts great demands on the type of soil and location—do I hear you say “terroir”?—it’s been trying to make a name for itself since the sixties but hasn’t really taken off.

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