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Traditional Swiss wines

Currently around 15,000 hectares of land in Switzerland are planted with vines – a relatively small area, but over 200 different varieties are grown. Learn all about our classic Swiss wines:

Classic whites

Tradition can also mean taking another look at history long past. In 1981 the young oenologist Madeleine Gay spoke to the Valais Provins cooperative. Her vision: to resurrect virtually extinct grapes from the region and bring them to new life. These included vines such as Amigne with its zingy mandarin fruit and Petite Arvine with a curious note of salt in its bouquet. Soon other vintners joined the movement, and today these ancient specialities are among the flagships of Swiss wine.

Classic reds

Switzerland’s favourite red grapes are Pinot noir and Gamay. Together they account for no less than 40% of the total vineyard area. Pinot clearly leads the field with 4,300 hectares, while Gamay grows on 1,600 hectares.
Pinot noir is also known as Blauburgunder or Clevner. It is grown all over the country – even in places that are better known for white wine production. For instance, it can be found in the red version of the Vaudois classic Aigle Les Murailles from the cellars of Badoux.
Gamay is a child of Pinot noir and, like its parent, comes from Burgundy. As a Beaujolais nouveau grape, it has fallen into disrepute from time to time – undeservedly so, as vinified by skilled hands it can produce entirely charming, berry-rich wines with a light peppery note. It found its way to Switzerland in the 19th century at the same time as Pinot noir. Both are born food-friendly wines. Fruity, delicately scented and filigree, they can accompany both meat and fish. They also provide red wine lovers with the perfect alternative for pairing with raclette.
Tip: In summer they are best drunk slightly chilled. Pinot noir and Gamay make the perfect match in Dôle wines. 85% or more of this Valais speciality wine is made up of these two varieties. Pinot, which must contribute at least 51%, gives the wine structure, while Gamay provides the alluring fruitiness. Dôle des Monts from Maison Gilliard is probably the most famous representative of this type of wine. It came into being in 1885 and continues to be one of Switzerland’s poster wines to this day.

Traditional Swiss wines