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

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.

Pinot blanc

Pinot blanc is a mutation of Pinot Gris. It may have found its way up the Rhône to Valais with any number of mercenaries returning to Switzerland, and today small quantities are cultivated in many Swiss wine regions. When grown in favorable conditions it produces a fruity wine with good acidity.

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.

A remedy for the moroseness of old age.

Plato

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