Swiss Grapes: Amigne — The Pride of Vétroz

Any discussion of the rare Swiss grape Amigne should begin with a mention of its longtime home, Vétroz. This nondescript village of 6400 residents boasts 174 hectares of vineyards — 102 of which are planted on terraces supported by exquisitely crafted dry-stone walls (Fig. 1). More than one-third of this privileged portion is devoted to Amigne. […]

The Clos du Mormont — A Spirit in the Vineyard

As a child of California who grew up during the New Age Movement, I’m familiar with talk of energy vortexes, power centers, and other metaphysical notions. I’m also familiar with the movement’s many intersections: Werner Erhard’s human potentiality seminars, for instance, or the eclectic offerings of the Esalen Institute. Back then, it was normal for […]

Calling Mr. Natural — A Battle Cry

In his recent essay entitled Are We Entering the Post-Natural Wine Era?, author Jamie Goode attempts to answer one question by asking another: “Where does natural wine finish and conventional wine start?” The implication is that the two sides are now so close in their practices that to distinguish between them is nearly meaningless. There is no doubt, […]

Swiss Grapes: Completer — The Answer to a Prayer

This article first appeared in Trink Magazine — Issue 04-07-2021 By traditional measures, my first year of college was a waste. I spent a lot of it playing cards with a gang of liberal theologians at a Jesuit university in California. Towering above the group was our guru, the truest Renaissance man I’ve ever met […]

A Wine of Note: Weingut Lenz (Uesslingen-Buch, Thurgau)

Recently, I received a sample box of organic and biodynamic wine from Winemaker.com, a new e-commerce site for Swiss wine, as a way to introduce me to their services. The list of participating wineries is impressive and if the business proves successful, I look for the list to grow. Frankly, there’s no reason it shouldn’t. […]

Swiss Grapes: Räuschling — The Acid Queen

Despite an encouraging trend toward greater grapevine diversity, two varieties continue to dominate the Swiss wine landscape. Pinot Noir, of course, is here to stay, because the Swiss, like their German counterparts, fancy themselves the new masters of this sensitive, climate-threatened variety. And the much-maligned Chasselas will always have a home in Suisse Romand, because […]

Swiss Vin Nature: The Regulations Have Arrived

After several years of study and debate, the final regulations for “Vin Nature Swiss-style” have been published. What follows is my English translation of the regulations — officially released only in French and German — so please forgive any errors I may have made. I think it’s pretty clean. Upon a quick examination, the Swiss regulations […]

Eglisau: Vines of the High Rhine

This article first appeared in Trink Magazine  — Issue 2, 14/12/2020 Every guide to Swiss wine begins with the same simple premise: There are six wine regions in Switzerland. That means one of them, Deutschschweiz, is forever miscast as a single entity, even though it encompasses nineteen cantons and covers two-thirds of the nation’s surface area. Meanwhile, […]