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What Do You Need to Know Before You Go to Wine Tour in Switzerland?

What Do You Need to Know Before You Go to Wine Tour in Switzerland?

The Wines of Switzerland

The Wines of Switzerland


While justifiably famous for its lovely chocolate, gooey fondues, and brilliant cheeses, Switzerland also makes excellent wines. Winemaking has taken place in Switzerland since at least the Roman era, possibly stretching back even further into history.


As a country with a cooler continental climate, Swiss winemakers tend to focus on white varieties. And as reflected in its food and culture, Swiss wine has elements of French, German, and Italian.



Grapes to discover in Switzerland


As far as grapes go, you’ll see classic French grapes like Pinot Noir, Gamay, and Chardonnay, with German influences cropping up in the form of Muller-Thurgau and Sylvaner.

Chasselas, which we see in Alsace, is the most planted white grape in the country while Pinot Noir takes the lead on the red side.

But Switzerland is also home to its fair share of local grape varieties. Petite Arvine, Amigne, and Cornalin are a few examples. There are also several crossings like Gamaret and Garanoir.

In the Italian canton of  Ticino, Merlot is the star grape variety and tends to be lighter in style than Merlots found across the border.



Gamaret grape growing in Swiss vineyardsGamaret growing in Lavaux terraces, Switzerland


Lavaux vineyard terraces in Switzerland
Lavaux vineyards terraces in Switzerland from lake Leman


Wine route in Lavaux vineyard terraces
Wine route in Lavaux vineyard terraces


classification system


The Swiss wine classification system is modelled on the French AOC system in some of the French cantons.

Famous Swiss wines include vin des glaciers, a rare Sherry-like wine. Like Sherry, vin des glaciers is aged in a solera system.

Oeil de perdrix is a rosé which is thought to have been produced since the Middle Ages. It is a dry rosé usually made from Pinot Noir, perfect for summer. Look to the French cantons of Neuchatel, Vaud, Valais, and Geneva if you’re interested in trying it.


The wines are a perfect pairing for classic Swiss dishes. If you’re in the mood for a spot of raclette and wine, ask electronic sommelier for the best recommendations near you!


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