Small but exclusive – this applies not only to the Switzerland wine country itself but also to the wines that are produced in the different Swiss wine regions. The best wines are of extremely high quality and are fantastically fine and very noble.
Wines from The Foothills of Alps
Switzerland wine country is the most mountainous in Europe and the Alps with their foothills also have a strong influence on viticulture. The vineyards are mainly at the beginning of the three large river valleys the Rhône in the west, the Rhine in the north, and Po in the south. In these valleys and along the many lakes, there are many vineyards on glacier moraines with mostly terraced steep slopes up to 70% slope. The high-altitude vineyards between 270 and 1100 meters, therefore, have a climate strongly influenced by the Alps as well as very different amounts of precipitation.
Switzerland’s Focus is Somewhat More on Red Wines
A little more than half of the total area of Switzerland wine country is occupied by red grape varieties. The most common are Pinot Noir and Gamay, only in Italian Switzerland (Ticino) does Merlot dominate with over 80%.
Chasselas is the predominant type of white wine (also called Dorin, Fendant, and Perlan), followed by Müller-Thurgau. There are 58% red grapes and 42% white ones. The total area of vines amounts to 15,000 hectares and is divided into Geneva, Vaud, and the Valais as the center of the viticulture.
Wine Tourism in Switzerland
Swiss wine regions offer a variety of wine tourism experiences and activities. Swiss wine country presents some of the most beautiful vineyard landscapes. Admire the Alpine scenery, walk through the vineyards, meet the winemakers, and enjoy exquisite Swiss wines paired with Alpine food.
Swiss Wine Regions
Vineyards of Switzerland wine country occupies around 15,000 hectares and the wines are mainly produced in the south part of the country. Swiss wine regions, Geneva, Neuchâtel, Ticino, Valais, and Vaud, boasts breathtaking terraced vineyard landscapes, lakes, snow-covered peaks and diversity wine wines.
Valais – The Largest Swiss Wine Region
Valais, which houses the pyramid-shaped Matterhorn, luxurious alpine resorts, and first-class wineries in the Rhône Valley, has 5000 hectares. This is also where 1/3 of Swiss wine production takes place. The Fendant, Pinot Noir, Gamay, and Johanniter varieties account for 90% of the production but the red wine production dominates in this region.
Valais, the largest wine-producing region of Switzerland wine country, presents a sunny and dry climate, terraced vineyards at the northern slopes of Rhone valley, where Swiss flagship wine, Petite Arvine, was born.
Vaud is a bit smaller than Valais, with 3,000 hectares and it is the home to crispy and refreshing Chasselas wine. Over the years, the canton of Vaud has started to name the grape varieties according to their place of origin. As a result, the name Fendant has only been used in Valais since 1966, where the variety was introduced in 1848. Elegant, fresh wines emerge from it, which are suitable both as an aperitif and as a companion to a good meal.
Vaud wine region is divided into four main wine-producing areas that are stretching around Lake Geneva. Lavaux is one of the most popular and charming Swiss wine regions located in Vaud and it extends from Lausanne to Vevey-Montreux. Terrace vineyards of Lavaux are protected by UNESCO for the thriving cultural landscape that dates back to the 11th century.
Today Lavaux offers cultural, natural, and wine tourism experiences in this magnificent setting.
The Müller-Thurgau dominates in German-speaking Switzerland. With this name the Swiss wine pioneer Dr. Hermann Müller-Thurgau (1850-1927) a memorial. But as well Pinot Noir of outstanding quality thrives here. Whereas Italian Switzerland in Ticino focuses on special qualities from the Merlot grape variety.
Switzerland wine country sees itself as an intermediate stage between Burgundy, Alsace, and Alto Adige and the wines with often low alcohol content are very multifaceted and therefore go well with different dishes.