Swiss Wine Regions

Vaud Wine Region

Vaud, Switzerland's second most important wine canton, is where Chasselas, the French outcast grape, seems to have found ideal conditions; chalky limestone soils, underlying alkaline earth, and a nurturing climate. It is in Vaud that the finest Chasselas based wines are found, including the prestigious Dézaley.

Athough the Chasselas grape accounts for over 80% of plantings, you will also find Pinot noir, Gamay, a humbled Chardonnay, and Pinot gris.

The Vaud wine region is distributed across three wine sub-regions: Chablais, La Côte and Lavaux*. Here the steep terraced vineyards plunge from hillside villages right to the edge of Lake Geneva, stretching from the north shores of lake Geneva to the Rhône Valley.

*Lavaux is the home of Dézaley.

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The Wine Grapes of Switzerland

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.

Bernarda

An old vine, but you won’t find it for sale anymore. However it’s being experimented with by Jean Nicollier (I’m searching for more references). The Bernarda is a Prié blanc from the Val d’Aosta that may have come into Switzerland over the St. Bernhard pass, and hence the name.

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.

Wine is made to be drunk as women are made to be loved; profit by the freshness of youth of the splendor of maturity; do not await decrepitude.

Theophile Malvezin

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