When I arrived in Switzerland in 2014, I was not aware that Switzerland was such a large producer of wines. As we live on the ‘right bank’ of Lac Leman, we drive past acres and acres of vineyards. Also learning that only 1-2% of swiss wine is exported, so most of it is consumed within the country!! Over 200 types of vines are grown with no fewer than 40 rare varieties, which are barely found anywhere else in the world. Small vineyards and steep hillside locations limit large-scale production. Therefore the focus is on quality rather than quantity.
About Swiss Wines
- Vine has been grown in Switzerland since the Roman Empire
- 132nd worldwide in terms of its area 41,285 km2
- 20th worldwide in terms of the vineyards surface with 148 km2
- 10th in the world by the ratio between the surface of the country and its vineyards
- 4th in the world by the annual wine consumption per capita (33 litres per capita)
A great chance to try some of these wines, are at the annual “caves ouvertes” or open caves. This gives the local wineries a chance to open their doors to the public for tastings, and usually also accompanied by local delicacies. Only cost is 15chf (2016 price) for a tasting glass per open day event.
I have found it best to find a local area that you can walk from vineyard to vineyard. Most areas do provide free shuttles between the vineyards, and also from the nearest train stations. Parking is usually very limited, as obviously these weekends are very popular. So best to take public transport if possible.
The largest, Vaud Open Caves, has over 300 local vineyards open their doors for the weekend. Includes many local wineries around our area of Founex, Commugny, Signy, Céligny and beyond. Also includes the UNESCO World Heritage area of the Lavaux Vineyards, near Vevey.
Below is a summary of the Swiss Open Caves.
Swiss Open Wineries 2017
For more information about the open wineries in your region:
- Neuchâtel – Mai 5 and 6 – www.neuchatel-vins-terroir.ch
- Geneva – Mai 20 – www.geneveterroir.ch
- Valais – Mai 25 through Mai 27 – www.lesvinsduvalais.ch
- Ticino – Mai 27 and 28 – www.ticinowine.ch
- Vully – June 2 through 4 – www.vin-vully.ch
- Vaud – June 3 and 4 – www.vins-vaudois.com
Also some local wineries are having open days outside of the days.
- Le Clos de Céligny – SATURDAY MAY 6 – 10am – 5pm
- Les Frères Dutry, Founex – THURSDAY 1 JUNE TO SUNDAY 4 JUNE https://www.lesfreresdutruy.ch
- Les Domaines des Biolles – MAY
Most local wineries are open every Saturday morning throughout the year for tastings. So with Spring headed our way, go out and explore our local area. Along the way, make a stop at a local vineyard and sample some of the Swiss wine and hospitality.
Cheers / Santé