Swiss Wine Regions

Swiss Wine Vintage 2010

Grape leaves in the sun

Early opinion of the 2009 Swiss wine vintage was “promising”, but by the end of the year the federal agriculture department near Nyon officially declared it as “excellent” for both quality and quantity.

For most of Switzerland the weather played nice. The early budding in spring, helped by a hot and dry June, led to quick flowering. A dry late summer and early fall helped the grapes mature well, and the weather stayed friendly for the harvest.

There were some problem patches: for example a 15-minute hail storm in July in the La Côte region damaged some vine parcels. But generally the good season made up for it, with the nearly 15,000 hectares of vines in Switzerland yielding 1.1 million hectoliters, 35,000 more than the previous year.

The Wine Grapes of Switzerland

Fendant

Fendant is a protected designation and may only be used in Valais for wines made from the Chasselas grape. In contrast to its native France, where it wasn’t too successful as a wine grape, the Chasselas shines in Switzerland.

Cabernet Sauvignon

A classic international variety, Cabernet Sauvignon is marginally cultivated in Geneva, Vaud, Valais and Ticino. Besides being vinified as a varietal, it is blended with other Bordeaux grape varieties, or with old Valais varieties.

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

Cabernet will rape you and pinot noir seduces you. ... Cabernet will throw you down and rip your clothes off, and pinot noir subtly convinces you to take them off yourself.

Old French Saying

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