Swiss Wine Regions

15 ways to explore the world of Swiss wine

Grape leaves on Trail, Image by A. Haenni

Interested in tasting wines at Ticino wineries? How about hiking with a St. Bernard through Valais vineyards? From mainstream to unusual, here's a collection of links for travelers interested in Swiss wine.

1. Walk with St. Bernard Dogs through Valais Vineyards

2. A big section about food and wine on the official Swiss travel site My Switzerland, the national marketing and sales organization for Swiss tourism.

3. Discover the Lavaux Vineyard Terraces, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
4. Gourmet strolls in the Lake Geneva area
5. Wine experiences in the canton of Schaffhausen
6. A writer for Epicurean Traveler recounts their wine safari in the southwestern corner of Switzerland
7. Wine and gourmet experiences at Ohbox, a unique Swiss travel boutique
8. List of wine producers in the Mendrisiotto region of Ticino. Provides a wealth of well-organized information about which wineries offer visiting, tasting and purchasing.
9. The site of Vinea, an annual September wine fair in Sierre, Valais
10. Wines of the region from the Bernese Jura tourism office
11. The Route du Vignoble in the renowned wine-making region of La Cote
14. Gastro-Excursions in the Fribourg Region, including a horse-carriage trip to the vineyards of Cheyres
15. Ellen Wallace leads the team that prepares the English version of the annual Swiss Wine Guide, and writes this wonderful column for Geneva Lunch.

The Wine Grapes of Switzerland

Gamaret

A new variety, developed in 1970 at Pully (Vaud), Gamaret is enjoying a growing success with producers and consumers alike. It produces a wine that is richly coloured and well-structured with sometimes-spicy notes that ages well. Gamaret is a cross between Gamay and Reichensteiner (a white grape.)

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.

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.

He who loves not wine, women and song remains a fool his whole life long.

Martin Luther

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