Liquid pleasure

The caress of the wine.

“It’s a pity that you cannot caress the wines,” said the satirist Kurt Tucholsky. He was a great wine lover, as so many Swiss are. It’s a great pleasure to stroll through a vineyard when the vines are budding, or when the grapes are ripening; or to visit winemakers and taste their proudest creations. The largest winegrowing areas are in Western Switzerland, on the shores of Lakes Geneva, Neuchâtel, Biel and Murten, and along the valley of the Rhone in the Valais, Switzerland’s most richly varied winegrowing canton. The Valais is home to the highest commercial vineyards in Europe, but some excellent wines flourish in Eastern Switzerland and Graubünden as well. You may not be able to caress Swiss wines, but they will certainly caress your palate.

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The most scenic: Lake Geneva Region

The setting of the Lavaux vineyards above Lake Geneva is quite simply spectacular. You can taste their wines in the Caveau des Vignerons in Lutry. www.vins-vaudois.com

The most of all: Valais

The Valais is a canton of superlatives: the highest vineyards in Europe (Visperterminen), the highest dry-stone walls in the world (near Sion), and a wine-tasting cellar with 500 local wines (Château de Villa, Sierre). www.vinsduvalais.ch

The most southern: Ticino

You can explore the vineyards of Ticino in half a day, following the wine trail between Gudo and Biasca – and stop at welcoming grotti (traditional inns) along the way. www.ticino-tourism.ch

The most welcoming: Bündner Herrschaft

Maienfeld is not only the home of Heidi, but also the home of some of the country’s finest wines. Every weekend from April to November, a different winemaker opens its doors to the public, starting at 11am. www.buendnerweine.ch

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Astonishing variety, surprising specialities

More than 50 grape varieties are cultivated in Switzerland, tempting wine lovers to explore and discover them. To the Valais, to taste the Petite Arvine and Amigne (white), the Humagne rouge and Cornalin (red); to the shores of Lake Geneva, for the rare red Petit Robert; to Lake Zürich, for the white Räuschling; or to the Bündner Herrschaft, where – alongside a magnificent Pinot noir – the age-old Completer grows. You are sure to come across the Chasselas, the main grape of Western Switzerland, as well as the Merlot of Ticino, and maybe even the new Swiss varieties, Garanoir and Diolinoir.

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