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

Rèze

Rèze is an extremely rare white variety found only in Valais. Not often produced as a varietal, Rèze is blended with other Vieux Plants of Valais. Rèze was also used to make the historic “vin des glaciers”, an amber colored wine produced in Val d’Anniviers using the solera technique.

No longer done today, one method in the past was to store Rèze in larch wood barrels, which gave the wine resinous flavor similar to the Greek Retsina, and masking some grape flavor.

Johannisberg

Second in white wines of Valais (after Fendant). The name Johannisberg is only used in Valais; the rest of French-speaking Switzerland call it Gros Rhin. The grape used to make Johannisberg is the Grüner Sylvaner. The origin of the grape is not clear. On the one hand it strongly resembles the Roman Apianisien (loved by bees) grape, as described by Pliny the Elder in his “Historia naturalis”, on the other hand, its more likely birthplace is in Romanian Transylvania.

Räuschling

The Räuschling grape is a very old and probably indigenous Swiss white wine grape. Once fairly common in Switzerland and Alsace, Räuschling got pushed aside by the more useful Müller-Thurgau grape, and today Räuschling is a minor grape. Still found in Alsace, France, and occasionally used in the “Vin d’Alsace”, it still retains quite some respect in the German-speaking parts of Switzerland, most notably in the canton of Zurich, where is is considered a “Zuri-grape”.

It is also planted in Valais.

Wine is a peep-hole on a man.

Alcaeus

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