Cépages

  • Rouge
  • Traditionnel (av. 1900)
  • 4140 Ha (28.01%)

Pinot Noir

A historical variety from the north-east of France, Pinot Noir probably originates from Burgundy, where there are records of it dating back to 1375.
In Switzerland, Pinot Noir existed historically in the canton of Vaud under the old name of Servagnin, where there are records of it dating back to 1472, and was later found in the cantons of Vaud and Neuchâtel from 1775 under the name Salvagnin. In Neuchatel, it has also been known by the names Tecou and Cortaillod since 1754, while in Valais it has become widespread since 1848 under the name Petite Dole. This early, unproductive variety is the most common in Switzerland. Its wines of international stature offer aromas of strawberry, and are generally fresh and delicate.

Associated names : 
Blauburgunder, Klävner
  • Blanc
  • Indigène
  • 3789 Ha (25.64%)

Chasselas

An icon for French-speaking Switzerland, Chasselas is a very old variety originating in the Lemanic Arc (north of Lake Geneva), where it was already known under the name of Fendant in the 17th century, in reference to its grapes that split easily in your fingers. The canton of Vaud gradually stopped using this variety's name in favour of appellations based on villages or vintages, so that since 1966 the name Fendant has been protected for the exclusive use of the Valais region, where the variety was introduced in 1848.
A wonderful expression of the terroirs where it is grown, Chasselas or Fendant is the most common white grape variety in Switzerland, mainly grown in the cantons of Vaud, Valais, Geneva and Neuchâtel. Early and delicate both on the vine and in the cellar, Chasselas gives subtle and elegant wines, to be savoured as an apéritif or with a meal.

Associated names : 
Fendant, Gutedel
  • Rouge
  • Traditionnel (av. 1900)
  • 1307 Ha (8.84%)

Gamay

A natural cross of Pinot and Gouais Blanc, Gamay probably originated in Burgundy (F) where it was first recorded (and banned...) in 1395. Its ancestry means it is a full-sibling of Chardonnay, Aligoté, Melon and other less well known varieties, so it's easy to understand how for a long time it was confused with Pinot Noir, particularly in French-speaking Switzerland, where both were referred to as Dôle. Its name comes from the village of Gamay near Saint-Aubin in the Côte d'Or (Burgundy).
An early variety which is prone to disease, its yield must be carefully managed on overly rich soils. In Switzerland, where an ancient biotype of it known as Plant Robert is found in Lavaux, it's an important variety which produces wines with notes of cherry and peony.

  • Rouge
  • Allogène (après 1900)
  • 1140 Ha (7.71%)

Merlot

A variety of Gironde (F), Merlot is used for blends in the great wines of Bordeaux. Its name comes from the French word for blackbird, who particularly enjoy its berries. Its parents were discovered through DNA tests: it's a natural cross between Cabernet Franc and Magdeleine Noire des Charentes, an old variety that has recently been threatened with extinction. Merlot is a half-sibling of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec (Cot) and Carmenère.
In Switzerland, this variety which is easy to grow but prone to mildew was introduced to the canton of Vaud in the mid-19th century. However, its greatest success has been in Ticino, becoming the symbol of the canton after its introduction in 1906, following the phylloxera crisis.

  • Blanc
  • Allogène (après 1900)
  • 466 Ha (3.15%)

Müller-Thurgau

For a long time wrongly considered to be an artificial cross between Riesling and Sylvaner created by the Swiss H. Müller in 1882 in Germany, DNA tests showed this heritage to be incorrect, and in 2000 revealed it was actually a cross of Riesling and Madeleine Royale. Despite everything, the name of Riesling x Sylvaner (or Riesling-Sylvaner) has been incorrectly retained in Switzerland, where this very early variety with abundant yields prone to fungal disease produces light, aromatic wines lacking in complexity.

Associated names : 
Riesling × Sylvaner
  • Rouge
  • Indigène
  • 428 Ha (2.89%)

Gamaret

An artificial cross of Gamay and Reichensteiner, Gamaret was created in 1970 at the Agroscope Research Centre in Pully (Switzerland) to obtain a variety that was similar to Gamay, but more resistant and with a richer colour. First officially sold in 1990, it is a full-sibling of Garanoir and Mara. Named after its ancestors, Gamaret is an early grape and highly resistant to grey mould. Grown mainly in Switzerland, but authorised in Beaujolais (F) since 2008, its wines are colourful, spicy, high in tannins and often used for blends.

  • Blanc
  • Allogène (après 1900)
  • 369 Ha (2.5%)

Chardonnay

A natural cross of Pinot and Gouais Blanc, Chardonnay probably originated in Saône-et-Loire (F), where it was recorded at the end of the 17th century. In fact, its ancestry means it is a full-sibling of Gamay, Aligoté, Melon and other less well known varieties, so it's easy to understand how for a long time it was confused with Aligoté and Pinot Blanc. Its name comes from the village of Chardonnay near Mâcon (Burgundy).
An early variety which is prone to disease, it needs a well-exposed chalky soil that is not too dry. In Switzerland, it produces wines with highly variable aromas depending on the terroir and the winemaking process, from lime to vanilla butter.

Associated names : 
Clävner
  • Blanc
  • Traditionnel (av. 1900)
  • 254 Ha (1.72%)

Sylvaner

Originally from Austria, Sylvaner is a natural cross between Savagnin (Heida in Valais) and Österreichisch Weiß, an old Austrian variety. Its name comes from the Latin silva (meaning forest), indicating a supposedly wild origin.
In Switzerland, it is grown particularly in Valais where it is known as Johannisberg in reference to a famous winegrowing domain of Rheingau (D). Its wines offer aromas of hazelnut and mild acidity.

Associated names : 
Johannisberg, Gros Rhin
  • Blanc
  • Traditionnel (av. 1900)
  • 230 Ha (1.55%)

Pinot gris

A colour mutation of Pinot Noir that appeared in several places independently, Pinot Gris was first recorded in 1711 in Baden-Württemberg (D) under the name of Ruländer.
In Switzerland, this early variety, which is quite prone to mildew, is known as Grauburgunder in German-speaking Switzerland, and Malvoisie in Valais. This name was borrowed from the Italian Malvasia Bianca, which was famous for its sweet wines. Its wines can be dry, with aromas of hazelnut and a touch of bitterness, or sweet (over-ripe), with aromas of quince and apricot.

Associated names : 
Malvoisie, Grauburgunder
  • Rouge
  • Indigène
  • 226 Ha (1.53%)

Garanoir

An artificial cross of Gamay and Reichensteiner, Garanoir was created in 1970 at the Agroscope Research Centre in Pully (Switzerland) to obtain a variety that was similar to Gamay, but more resistant with a richer colour. First officially sold in 1990, it is a full-sibling of Gamaret and Mara. With its imaginative name, Garanoir is early and highly resistant to grey mould. Grown only in Switzerland, its wines are colourful, fruity, soft and often used in blends.