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 […]

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 […]

Bâtonnage: Some Thoughts On a New Wine Podcast

Earlier this month marked the debut of a new wine podcast (brave souls) hosted by food and wine maven, Fiona Beckett, and the seemingly tireless Master of Wine, Liam Steevenson. It’s called Bâtonnage—a play on the French term which in English means “to stir the lees”—and if the first episode is any indication the series […]

A Rose By Any Other Name: The Confusing State of Grapes in Switzerland

Every time I travel to the States people want to know about Swiss wine. Many will ask without realizing that they already have some near iron-clad mis-information to overcome. One of the most common errors is a simple one: confusing Vaud with Valais, and vice versa. Others are surprised to learn that Riesling is not […]

The Hailstone Shield: Anathema to Organic and Biodynamic Vineyards?

Recently the Association National d’Etude et de Lutte contre les Fléaux Atmosphériques (ANELFA) announced the purchase and installation of 125 silver iodide generators in a no-holds-barred effort to thwart the occurrence of destructive hail storms in the vineyards of Burgundy. On the surface this would appear to be a wise investment but is there an ancillary cost?  At least one commentator thinks so. Wine-influencer Tom […]

Swiss Grapes — Salvagnin or Servagnin: Which Is It?

There’s almost never a thought given to the rare benefits of the Black Death pandemic of the Middle Ages but the existence of Servagnin de Morges is one of them. The story begins more than 600 years ago in France with one of the most consequential edicts in wine history: (The Duke of Burgundy) Philip the […]