Are the Swiss Ready for the Pét-Nat Invasion?

Of all the recent wine trends to arrive in Switzerland, the pét-nat vogue may be the first to fizzle out. It’s not because the Swiss don’t like bubbles — they do, Switzerland is an important market for Champagne — but fads and frivolities are never an easy sell here. To the high-roller banker-types — loyal […]

Swiss Grapes: Sauvignon Soyhières

There’s a slight claustrophobic ends-of-the-earth vibe to the Jurassian village of Soyhières (Pop. 433). It has the plain vanilla look of 1950’s Swiss functionality with a lingering undercurrent of separatism and a patois (Vâdais) all its own. The village itself offers none of the postcard images one expects from rural Switzerland but the seasonal pastures and […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Mondeuse: The Ghost of Grapes Past

The landscape of Swiss vineyards offered a more complicated puzzle in 1880 than it does today. Not only did viticulture suffer a massive decline during the decades of phylloxera infestation, it endured a mass migration from north to south and an alarming loss of diversity. First, some statistics. Zürich’s area under vine fell from 5,279 […]