Book Review: 111 Vins Suisses à ne pas manquer by Pierre Thomas (2022)

111 Vins Suisses à ne pas manquer by Pierre Thomas, Emons Verlag (2022) The “111” series of books by German publisher Emons Verlag is a staple in European bookstores. Like the “Books for Dummies” franchise in the U.S., their titles are everywhere. The brand’s most successful niche, by far, is the off beat guidebook written […]

Profile: Michael Broger Weinbau (Ottoberg, Thurgau)

When Michael Broger and I strolled through his vineyard garden in late August, it was bursting with life. In one corner was a flock of brown-coated Såne sheep quietly feasting on a selection of grasses and legumes. In another corner, an assortment of winged and jumping insects loitered around their rustic wooden residence. Underfoot were […]

Everything Old Is New Again: A Completer Septicentennial

It’s safe to say the 700 Years of Completer celebration in October was the first birthday party for a 700-something I’ve ever attended. Not so for the event organizer, Dr. José Vouillamoz, who’s an old hand at this kind of thing — yes, the 700 Years of Rèze and Humagne Blanche party in 2013 was […]

Swiss Grapes: Amigne — The Pride of Vétroz

Any discussion of the rare Swiss grape Amigne should begin with a mention of its longtime home, Vétroz. This nondescript village of 6400 residents boasts 174 hectares of vineyards — 102 of which are planted on terraces supported by exquisitely crafted dry-stone walls (Fig. 1). More than one-third of this privileged portion is devoted to Amigne. […]

The Clos du Mormont — A Spirit in the Vineyard

As a child of California who grew up during the New Age Movement, I’m familiar with talk of energy vortexes, power centers, and other metaphysical notions. I’m also familiar with the movement’s many intersections: Werner Erhard’s human potentiality seminars, for instance, or the eclectic offerings of the Esalen Institute. Back then, it was normal for […]

Calling Mr. Natural — A Battle Cry

In his recent essay entitled Are We Entering the Post-Natural Wine Era?, author Jamie Goode attempts to answer one question by asking another: “Where does natural wine finish and conventional wine start?” The implication is that the two sides are now so close in their practices that to distinguish between them is nearly meaningless. There is no doubt, […]

Swiss Grapes: Completer — The Answer to a Prayer

This article first appeared in Trink Magazine — Issue 04-07-2021 By traditional measures, my first year of college was a waste. I spent a lot of it playing cards with a gang of liberal theologians at a Jesuit university in California. Towering above the group was our guru, the truest Renaissance man I’ve ever met […]

Swiss Grapes: Räuschling — The Acid Queen

Despite an encouraging trend toward greater grapevine diversity, two varieties continue to dominate the Swiss wine landscape: Pinot Noir is here to stay, because the Swiss, like their German counterparts, fancy themselves the new masters of this sensitive, climate-threatened variety; and the much-maligned Chasselas because it’s so emblematic of Swiss culture as the workhorse wine […]

Swiss Vin Nature: The Regulations Have Arrived

After several years of study and debate, the final regulations for “Vin Nature Swiss-style” have been published. What follows is my English translation of the regulations — officially released only in French and German — so please forgive any errors I may have made. I think it’s pretty clean. Upon a quick examination, the Swiss regulations […]