Swiss Grape Varieties

Swiss Grape Varieties

The grape varieties in Switzerland, like many other countries, are selected by tradition and by soil and climate conditions.

The most important white varieties are Chasselas (sometimes called Gutedel) and Müller-Thurgau (also referred to as Riesling x Sylvaner). The important red varieties are Blauburgunder (Pinot Noir), Gamay, and Merlot.

Switzerland also has a number of special varieties, which are virtually exclusive to Switzerland…and more specifically canton Wallis. Some of the special white varieties are Amigne, Petit Arvine, Heida, Lafnetscha, and Humagne blanc. The reds are Cornalin and Humagne rouge. Wallis is not, however, the only region with special varieties. Around lake Zürich, there is the white variety Räuschling, and from Graubünden the Completer (some say this is the same variety as the Lafnetscha from Wallis).

Of course, there are also many other international varieties grown throughout Switzerland, and many unknown varieties.

Switzerland also grows quite a number of grape varieties from crossbreeding; The grape variety Riesling x Sylvaner is by far the most popular. Some of the others include Freisamer (Sylvaner and Pinot Gris), Gamaret (Gamay and Reichsteiner), and Diolinoir (Diolly and Pinot Noir).

But Switzerland would not be itself if it did not create much confusion by giving the same grape variety different names. Here are a few examples to challenge your curiosity: In Zürich, the Pinot Noir variety (also called Blauburgunder in German) is also referred to as Clevner. In Wallis, the Sylvaner grape is called Johannisberg and the Pinot Gris is known as Malvoisie. The Marasanne Blanche variety from the French Rhone Valley is called Ermitage in Wallis, and of course, the well-known Chasselas grape is also the famous Fendant.