Switzerland is a still largely unknown wine country, but one which produces wines of great quality. Our country has an old wine-growing tradition and also enjoys natural conditions extremely favourable to wine production. Most of the vineyards are located on south-facing hillsides, bordering rivers and lakes. The optimal sunshine combined in Valais with the foehn, that warm southerly wind, promotes optimal ripening of the grapes, even for vines planted at altitude.
But while the climate is favourable for the production of excellent Swiss wines, the growing conditions remain difficult. The vineyards are often planted on land with steep slopes, such as the Lavaux plots which descend towards Lake Geneva with a slope of 13 to 43%. Many vineyards are also located at altitude. With 6 wine-growing regions each with their own grape varieties and specific terroirs, Switzerland remains a great wine country.
The most important and best-known wine regions are Valais and Vaud, followed by German-speaking Switzerland, the Geneva region, Ticino and the 3 lakes. Certain terroirs combine exceptional conditions which produce prestigious wines. The Lavaux vineyard, which overlooks Lake Geneva, enjoys sunshine of an extremely rare quality called the 3-suns phenomenon. The vines receive their light direct from the sun, as well as from the radiation reflected by the surrounding walls and by the lake itself.
There are 63 Swiss wine appellations for 26 cantons across the country. The appellations can be both cantonal and communal. Each canton also has its own AOC legislation. Switzerland doesn’t have a uniform wine classification for the whole country, even though there is ongoing discussion to harmonise the appellations.
Certain terroirs are nevertheless known worldwide for the exceptional quality of their wines, a quality highlighted by an appellation. This is the case, for example, in the canton of Vaud, which has established 8 appellations, the most famous of which are AOC Lavaux and the two AOC grand cru, Dézaley Grand cru and Calamin Grand cru. Switzerland also produces prestigious wines in the canton of Geneva, which has 22 AOC Premier Cru.
Finally, it’s worth noting that Swiss wines with an appellation have in common the fact that their label shows the grape variety followed by the name of its canton or village of origin. The grape variety is indeed an essential component of the quality of Swiss wine.
The list of Swiss grape varieties used for wine production reflects the variety of the country’s terroirs. 240 grape varieties have been identified. The most common grape varieties remain Pinot Noir, Gamay, Syrah and Merlot for Swiss red wine, and Chasselas (or Fendant), Chardonnay, Sylvaner and Riesling for Swiss white wine.
These varieties, which remain in the majority, are often blended with local grape varieties which give Swiss wines their specific features. One third of the country’s grape varieties are indeed of indigenous or autochthonous origin. Gamaret, Dornfelder and Garanoir are among the Swiss grape varieties that form the identity of our country’s wine. We could also mention the following indigenous grape varieties: Petite Arvine, Chasselas (also called Fendant du Valais), Amigne, Doral, Humagne Blanche or Rouge, Charmont, Rhine Riesling, Rèze, Cornalin…
The range of grape varieties used is reflected in the character of Swiss wines. Syrah and Cornalin give real power and complexity to Swiss red wine. On the contrary, a Swiss red wine made from Gamay or Pinot Noir will have more suppleness and lightness. In the same way, a white Valais Fendant will be fruity and lively, while a Swiss white wine made from Petite Arvine will have more of an edge.
But the best thing is to explore our selection of Swiss wines by downloading the SWISS WINES app directly from your smartphone.
Valentina Andrei.34.00 CHF Add to cart
Les Frères Dutruy.15.00 CHF Add to cart
Domaine de Beauvent.19.00 CHF Add to cart
Domaine de Beauvent.18.00 CHF Add to cart
Domaine de Beauvent.16.00 CHF Add to cart
Domaine de Beauvent.27.00 CHF Add to cart
Les Frères Dutruy.19.50 CHF Add to cart
Valentina Andrei.34.00 CHF Add to cart
Valentina Andrei.35.00 CHF Add to cart
Valentina Andrei.37.00 CHF Add to cart
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