Grosse Arvine — One Man’s Mission

If you’ve ever entertained thoughts of resuscitating a barely breathing grape variety you may want to give Olivier Pittet a call. He’s a fine young man and a terrific winemaker who, in his spare time, lays it all on the line for a little known cultivar that may never be commercially viable. He will no […]

Les Trésors du Vin Suisse — Basel 2019

The Trésors tasting and its sister — the more inclusive Mémoire & Friends tasting — are my favorite events on the Swiss wine calendar. Both events reside under the Mémoire des Vins Suisses (MDVS) umbrella — a marketing-related non-profit founded and nurtured by a group of wine-loving journalists, producers and enthusiasts. Both tasting events, and the parties […]

Water Into Wine: A Case Study

Water into wine — Jesus got it right, from one comes the other. But the real miracle at that wine-deficient wedding in Galilee was his judicious use of a scarce natural resource: one measure of water for one measure of wine. An enviable ratio in anyone’s book and one that today’s water-conscious winemakers would do well to […]

Jungewinzer Im Rampenlicht — Young Swiss Winemakers in the Spotlight

Junge Schweiz Neue Winzer is a professional association of young (and new) Swiss winemakers dedicated to the free exchange of ideas and shared experiences. It also serves as support group (because change is never easy), promotional arm and globally-attuned tasting panel. While real change is often slow to take hold in Switzerland, it can be hastened […]

Ticino Wine Festival — 2019

It may surprise some that at 266,000 hectares, Merlot is the second most planted grape variety in the world. A substantial portion of that number (74,550 hectares) is found in Bordeaux alone. When you add in the rest of France—especially the south where it enjoys a sizable footprint—it doesn’t leave much for the rest of […]

Pinot Noir from the Bielersee–It Runs In the Family

Standing in the vineyards between Ligerz and Twaan I often feel a little dreamy as I stare at the Bierlersee below and its signature landmark, St. Peter’s Island. From this vantage point I can only begin to imagine the serene isolation of someone living there alone, as the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau did for a short […]

Valais Mundi–Ready for the World?

When controversy surrounds a subject it’s sometimes best to let the dust settle before crawling back into the fray. A case in point is the dust-up surrounding the Swiss brand Valais Mundi and its flagship red wine, Electus. From its introduction in 2013, to a recent series of press tastings, consensus has been hard to […]