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 […]

The Women of Swiss Wine

By most accounts Switzerland is a pretty good place to be a woman. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) through its annual Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) Switzerland ranked first with the fewest impediments to gender equality (8.1%) — ahead of next-in-line Denmark (10.4%) and third-place Sweden (10.5%). That’s pretty good company […]

The Wine Advocate’s Latest Swiss Foray

It’s like a national holiday in the Confederation when The Wine Advocate shows up with new reporting on the nation’s wines. I can attest: everyone in the business is on alert — social media accounts fire-up, graphics departments get busy creating shelf-talkers and every commentator worth their weight in chasselas opines on the results. The current issue […]

The Awkward Members of the Gamay Family

When most people talk Gamay they mean Gamay Noir à Jus Blanc the celebrated grape of Beaujolais. And since the vast majority of the Beaujolais vineyards are planted to Gamay noir the discussion usually ends there. There’s not much need to mention the thirty-eight approved and hundreds of unapproved clones residing in nurseries around the […]

Wine Tariffs — The End Game

Mid-January 2020 looms large in the world of wine. That’s when the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative closes the window on two public comment periods for the proposed 100% tariff on agricultural products emanating from the European Union, including wine. Most everyone in our business knows the story: Trump’s tariffs are in retaliation for […]