Swiss Grapes: Sauvignon Soyhières

There’s a slight claustrophobic ends-of-the-earth vibe to the Jurassian village of Soyhières (Pop. 433). It has the plain vanilla look of 1950’s Swiss functionality with a lingering undercurrent of separatism and a patois (Vâdais) all its own. The village itself offers none of the postcard images one expects from rural Switzerland but the seasonal pastures and […]

Provins Valais: A Cooperative No More

Provins Valais, the largest winery in Switzerland and producer of nearly ten percent of all Swiss wine, is a cooperative no more. After years of financial turmoil — culminating in a messy crop payment fiasco — the ninety-year-old enterprise was recast as a société anonyme (“S.A.”) by an overwhelming vote of its members. The suitor, Fenaco, a highly […]

A New Pest in the Vineyard — What to Watch For

I’m one of those wine lovers who prefers a face-to-face at the local bottle shop to a blind purchase online. My other preference is to order directly from a few trusted Swiss producers. This allows me to avoid the middleman, gives me time to talk things over with the winemaker, and puts me first in […]

Swiss Grapes — The Twins: Gamaret & Garanoir

Whenever I think of Gamaret, I invariably think of its less assertive twin, Garanoir. And whenever my mind thinks in pairs like that, it invariably settles on the Silva sisters, Sheila and Sonja. The dreaded sisters were among my most formidable childhood antagonists and the first set of twins to enter my consciousness as classmates […]

Profile: Clos de Tsampéhro (Flanthey, Valais)

It’s not exactly a secret garden — situated as it is mid-slope, in the middle of Valais — but Tsampéhro isn’t obvious either. From a distance it looks like any other vineyard along the Coteaux de Sierre, but upon closer inspection you might notice the low stone wall that surrounds it or the vibrant green, […]

Swiss Wine: The Grand Cru Confusion Explained

One of the most frustrating (and intriguing) things about researching Swiss wine is the diligence required to gather information across three languages and twenty-six, more-or-less autonomous cantons. The bottom-up system of Swiss government means that each canton retains broad powers to regulate its own affairs. From there, it only takes a little digging to discover […]

The Last Man Standing — Domaine de Mucelle

It’s not everyday that a two hundred year old international treaty is invoked to settle modern customs and cross-border taxation issues, but France and Switzerland, or more specifically the Republic of Geneva, can break out The Treaty of Paris every now and then as an example. Article One, Section Three of the 1815 Treaty — […]

A Wine of Note: Domaine des Faverges, St-Saphorin, Vaud

2017 Chasselas, L’Énigme, Domaine des Faverges (St-Saphorin, Vaud) One of my favorite pastimes when researching a wine region is digging into the side stories — the whys and hows. For example, after tasting this wine and knowing nothing of the winery’s history, I wondered how the canton of Fribourg came to own property in the […]

Profile: Domaine Dugerdil, Dardagny, Geneva

From the top of the slope in Dardagny (see header photo) there is so much to see. There are the undulating vineyards, of course, and the sleeping-cat form of Mont Salève in the distance. Close by is a mystical place of geological importance — the end of the Jura and the beginning of the Alps. […]