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 […]

Profile: Weinbau Thomas Studach (Malans, Graubünden)

To many foreigners Switzerland is a land of carefully cultivated myths and legends punctuated by beautiful mountain landscapes. The would be traveler, without knowing it, is seduced by marketing—eagerly shared by travel writers and recycled by hyper-efficient feedback loops. Thus, the watch industry and train system feed—and are fed by—the aura of Swiss precision and […]

Vinea On Tour: A Few Stand-Out Wines

The Vinea road-show organizers took pity on me this year and finally staged one of its tastings in my back yard of Geneva. Vinea is a Swiss wine trade organization that sponsors tastings of its member’s wines in various locations throughout the year, culminating in the epic, two-day Grand Prix du Vin Suisse in Sierre. It […]

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 […]

Profile: Weinbau Markus Ruch (Neunkirch, Schaffhausen)

There’s no easy way to shake things up in conservative rural Switzerland. Take the wine business, for example, and the plight of Markus Ruch. Some nonplussed locals have asked how a newcomer has the nerve to charge more for his wine than do legacy wineries. Other local skeptics want to know why he plumps for biodynamics when conventional agriculture works just fine. Still others wonder why he does women’s work by […]