You might not think of wine tasting in Switzerland when planning your Swiss holiday, but if you’re a wine lover you’re in for a surprise. Admittedly, on my first visit to Switzerland, I wasn’t aware that Swiss wine was a thing (not surprising considering less than 1% of it is exported). I’d heard about and tasted plenty of Swiss cheese (and raclette and fondue) and Swiss chocolate (like Lindt). It was only when I tasted my first few Swiss wines on that trip and others after that, did I realize how great they were, how important the Swiss wine industry is, and how underrated (or perhaps a secret) Swiss wine is among wine lovers. If you’re a wine lover interested in wine tastings, tours, and other wine experiences, Switzerland should be on your radar.
Are there wineries in Switzerland?
In the Swiss countryside, nearly 1,500 winegrowers are hard at work producing high-quality wines from grapes grown in a wine-producing area of nearly 15,000 hectares.
In 2019, Switzerland produced nearly 148 million 750ml bottles of wine, most of it in the cantons of Vaud and Valais. The Swiss love drinking wine too — according to the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV), the per capita consumption of wine in Switzerland in 2021 was 34.6 liters, putting Switzerland fourth on the list of the top 10 countries in the world for per capita wine consumption, just below Portugal, France, and Italy.
And winemaking isn’t new or recent in Switzerland: dotted around stunning landscapes, Swiss wineries have been cultivating grapes and producing quality wines since Roman times. Today, experts in technique and full of passion-fueled stories, most wineries are family-run businesses in locations that are a wine lover’s dream.
It’s possible to visit these wineries for vineyard visits, cellar tours, as well as wine tastings (the summer and autumn seasons are the best time), but since most are not open throughout the year, it’s best to make reservations in advance.
Even if you’re not headed to one of Switzerland’s wine regions specifically for wine tasting or a wine trip, it’s still possible to combine wine tasting with other experiences on day trips from cities like Zurich, Lausanne, Geneva, Interlaken, and Montreux. It’s also pretty straightforward to visit the wine regions by train (here’s a helpful review of the Swiss Travel Pass and the GoldenPass Express panorama train if you plan on getting around Switzerland by train).
Since wine is produced in many locations around the country, the truth is you’re never too far away from a great opportunity to taste some fantastic Swiss wines or go wine tasting alongside panoramas of alpine lakes. For example, on this electric tuk-tuk tour of vineyards in Geneva, you’ll sample delicious wines and local cuisine in a traditional winery.
Here’s everything you need to know about how to visit some of the top wineries in Switzerland, what wines are produced in Switzerland, and the best wine regions that you should know of. Further, you’ll also find information about the best wine-tasting experiences in Switzerland.
What types of wines are produced in Switzerland?
In Switzerland, you’ll find a wide range of unique wines—everything from red, white, and sweet wines to sparkling rosés. There are over 250 different grape varieties grown here, including native varieties and others that have been imported. The best wineries in Switzerland have mastered the art of producing unique high-quality wines with these exceptional grapes.
Notable white wine grape varieties in Switzerland include:
- The native Chasselas (a popular table grape, cultivated in the Swiss canton of Vaud, Chasselas makes up one-fourth of the white wines produced)
- The native Amigne (that produces dry and fruity medium sweet and sweet wines)
- The native Humagne Blanche (one of the oldest grape varieties in Europe known to grow in Valais in the 14th century)
- The native Räuschling (that makes light, refreshing wines with citrus notes)
- Foreign varieties like Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, and Müller-Thurgau
Notable red wine grape varieties in Switzerland include:
- The native Cornalin (a fruity red grown only in Valais and well-known among Swiss wine lovers)
- Foreign varieties like Gamay, Merlot, Syrah, and Pinot Noir.
What is the Most Popular Wine in Switzerland?
Considering that Chasselas makes for about 25% of the white wines produced in Switzerland, and it is also the grape that dominates the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Lavaux Vineyard Terraces, it’s safe to say that Chasselas is the most popular wine in Switzerland.
Can You Visit Wineries in Switzerland?
Yes, it’s possible to visit wineries in Switzerland. Swiss winemakers offer a variety of wine-tasting experiences for visitors. Wine tourism is big here, and includes everything from tastings with Swiss sommeliers and winery visits to hikes through vineyards with panoramic lake views and grape harvest experiences.
If you’re after something a little more active, then there are plenty of wine trails to be explored through hikes and bike rides. These trails take you around different Swiss vineyards where you can stop off to sample local wines at pubs and cellars and enjoy lunch along the way.
How to Visit Wineries and Vineyards in Switzerland
Best Wine Region in Switzerland: Lavaux Vineyard Terraces
If you have time to visit only one of the wine regions in Switzerland, then plan to visit the Lavaux Vineyard Terraces, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with over 10,000 terraces in the canton of Vaud. You can choose to walk on the viticulture trails past lush vineyards and wine villages in Lavaux or explore in other ways. These terraces are an easy train ride away from Geneva, Lausanne, and Montreux.
This stunning landscape offers fabulous views over Lake Geneva and the Swiss Alps. There are several walks you can do here, each differing in terms of difficulty and duration, but providing equally gorgeous views. The history of winemaking in these vineyard terraces goes back to the 11th century.
If you’re visiting from Lausanne, it’s recommended to take the train to Saint-Saphorin and then stroll back to Lausanne via a trail that goes past vineyards owned and cultivated by family-run wineries in the area.
If you’re not in a rush, then you can walk all the way from Lutry to Vevey past these stunning terraced vineyards – a pleasant few hours punctuated by refreshing glasses of wine! This guided walk in the Lavaux vineyards offers the chance to explore with local experts, taste some great wines, and learn about the history of the area. This is the best place to try some lovely white wines here produced from the Chasselas grape that dominates the vineyards in this area.
Some cultural sights to visit in the villages are the Tour de Marsens, the Maison Lavaux exhibition, and the World Chasselas Conservatory in Rivaz.
If you’d rather take it easier (you will be sampling quite a few wines after all), then hop onboard one of two cute trains on wheels to get around the terraced vineyards and wine villages — the Lavaux Panoramic train from Chexbres to Saint-Saphorin or Chardonne, or the Lavaux Express train that runs on the Lutry-Aran-Grandvaux-Lutry and the Cully-Riex-Epesses-Dézaley-Cully line. These express trains only run in the summer, so be sure to check schedules if you’re counting on taking the train.
E-bike tours of the Lavaux Vineyards are also available, or you could bring your own rental e-bike or bike, as the routes are pretty straightforward. It’s possible to stop and visit wineries for tastings along the way.
A cruise on the lake is another great way to appreciate the vineyards that cover the steep slopes of Lavaux. There are boat tours that offer wine tastings with awe-inspiring views of the Lavaux vineyards, while you’re cruising on the lake.
It’s also easy to visit the Lavaux vineyards from cities like Geneva. For example, on this tour of the Swiss Riviera from Geneva, you’ll have the chance to visit Lavaux to taste wines and visit vineyards, visit the town of Vevey, travel by an old steamer boat to the medieval Castle of Chillon, and visit the city of Montreux. If you’re staying overnight in Montreux, here’s my review of the GoldenPass Express from Montreux to Interlaken.
Thanks to the rich wine heritage of the UNESCO-listed Lavaux vineyard terraces, the considerable ease and convenience with which you can organize wine experiences, be it wine tastings, tours, or vineyard walks and e-bike tours, and the many wine villages and cultural sights that dot the area offering superb views, the Lavaux vineyard terraces are the best wine region in Switzerland for tourists.
Spiez Vineyards for a Viticultural Trail
Then there’s the Spiez Vineyard Sensory Adventure Trail. Easily reachable by train from Interlaken, this 60-minute viticulture trail takes you through the gorgeous Spiez Vineyard and offers information about winemaking in the area through 12 information boards and videos that you can watch using a QR code.
A viticulture museum also offers information and is worth exploring if you’re not in a rush. Better still, stop at Spiezer Alpine Weinkultur for a guided tour and to sample their lovely Spiezer white wines. There are jaw-dropping views of the Alps and Lake Thun, and benches to rest and enjoy a bit of a picnic along the way. It’s an easy, well-posted circular trail that you can do independently.
Europe’s highest vineyard at Visperterminen
You could also join a guided tour to Europe’s highest vineyard at Visperterminen which includes hikes, wine tastings, and lunch.
Explore Vineyards in Switzerland By Bike
If you prefer exploring Switzerland’s beautiful vineyards on two wheels, then there are bike trails such as Stage 1/2 of the Chemin du Vignoble from Martigny to Sion that takes you through vineyards and wine villages, plus other interesting sights along the way.
Or consider this super fun e-bike wine tour in Valais where you’ll cycle around the wine region with a sommelier guide, and stop off on the way to taste some great wines from Valais in select wineries, and enjoy a delicious three-course lunch featuring specialties from Valais.
Wine Tasting on Lake Cruises
If you’re planning on staying a few days in a city like Zurich, Lucerne, Geneva, or Lausanne, then you can go on a boat tour or a cruise that combines wine tasting and vineyard views with sightseeing.
For example, this day trip from Lucerne offers private wine tasting at a traditional winery with beautiful views of Lake Lucerne.
This reasonably-priced 2-hour boat trip on Lake Geneva from Lausanne to Vevey offers lovely views of the Lavaux vineyards along with a glass or two of local wines.
Overnight Stays in the Wine Regions
Some wineries also offer overnight stays so you can soak up the experience, visit the vineyards, hear the stories, and really get to know the local wines. After all, nothing beats waking up to find vineyards just outside your front door!
Best of all, many wineries offer delicious local food and dishes that are expertly paired with wines.
Wine Regions of Switzerland
While wine is cultivated in all 26 of Switzerland’s cantons, there are mainly six wine regions in Switzerland. Most of the country’s wine production, at nearly one-third, takes place in Valais.
The canton of Vaud (which includes the world-renowned Lavaux Vineyards) and German-speaking Switzerland also produce significant amounts of wine. Meanwhile, Geneva, Italian-speaking Ticino, and the Three Lakes region produce much smaller amounts.
Each region has its specialties. For example, German Switzerland is known for reds such as Müller-Thurgau and Pinot Noir, while Valais has a reputation for Chasselas and Pinot Noir.
In Italian-speaking Switzerland, you’ll find a wide range of wines – from light and fruity to full-bodied wines. In Ticino, you can taste reds such as Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Bondola, as well as grappa.
Wine regions in Switzerland
The canton of Valais is Switzerland’s top wine region — not only is it responsible for one-third of the country’s total wine production, but it is also literally home to Europe’s highest vineyards at Visperterminen, located 1,100m above sea level. A visit here rewards with high-quality wines produced from 54 grape varieties, along with spectacular panoramic views.
Most of the region’s terraced vineyards are located on the banks of the upper Rhône river and stretch between Fully and Salgesch. Many of the region’s wineries have established themselves along this route.
The Central and Lower Valais regions in the west of Switzerland are French-speaking, while Upper Valais is German-speaking.
Typical wines from this region include the white Chasselas, but reds such as Humagne Rouge, Pinot Noir, Cornalin, and Gamay make up the vast majority of wine production in this canton.
The second-largest wine region in Switzerland, the canton of Vaud is the country’s oldest wine-producing region with the earliest mentions of wine production in the area dating to the 10th century.
Most notable for its white wines including the Chasselas grape variety, but also where you’ll find reds such as Gamay and Pinot Noir is the French-speaking canton of Vaud.
It is in the canton of Vaud that you’ll find the famous Lavaux vineyard terraces mentioned earlier in this article. This sublime landscape is a UNESCO World Heritage site where you’ll find beautiful trails weaving past vineyards, wineries, and quaint wine villages such as Saint-Saphorin, Chexbres, Rivaz, Cully, Epesses, and Grandvaux. Make time to stop for picnics and take photos at the many panoramic viewpoints.
Also worth a visit here is Lavaux Vinorama — a wine-themed discovery and tasting center that offers vineyard walks, wine tours, wine tastings, cellar visits, and meals. You can also shop for wines here (there’s a selection of over 300 wines). Set in the Lavaux terraces close to a waterfall, the location is breathtaking too.
While you’re in Vaud, visit the stunning 12th-century medieval Chillon Castle (Château de Chillon in French) on the shores of Lake Geneva.
Italian-speaking Ticino is the southernmost canton of Switzerland. Thanks to its sunny Mediterranean climate and sufficient rainfall, it provides ideal growing conditions for wine production.
There are two main sub-regions when it comes to Ticino’s wine production – the Sopraceneri or Bellinzona in the north and Sottoceneri or Lugano in the south.
Red grape varieties such as Merlot and Pinot Noir make up more than 90% of the vineyards in Ticino. The Merlot grape is also used to produce the white Merlot Bianco. Then there’s the Bondola grape variety used to make a red wine that’s a true Ticino specialty.
The region also has a significant production of grappa.
Three Lakes Wine Region
Located in western Switzerland, three lakes make up this wine region — Lakes Biel, Murten, and Neuchâtel. The picturesque vineyards of the Three Lakes Region provide an idyllic setting for some of Switzerland’s best wineries.
The wine-producing region is spread out over five cantons including Neuchâtel, Bern, Fribourg, Vaud, and Jura. Nearly 67% of Swiss wine production takes place around Lake Neuchâtel. This area is also famous for its ecological practices when it comes to winemaking.
Though 12 grape varieties grow here, this wine region is most notable for Pinot Noir and other reds, while white grape varieties such as Chardonnay and Chasselas make up a little less than half of the region’s vineyards.
German-speaking wine regions
The German-speaking wine region of Switzerland is made up of 17 cantons and covers the central north and east of Switzerland stretching along the shores of Lake Zurich. Zurich is the largest wine producer within this region.
The most popular grape varieties are Pinot Noir and Müller Thurgau, with red grapes accounting for a vast majority of the total production. Räuschling and Pinot Grigio are examples of white wines to be sampled here.
This French-speaking city is in the Geneva canton and situated in the southwestern part of the country. Vineyards are located on the shores of Lake Geneva and are surrounded by the stunning Swiss Alps and Jura mountains.
Geneva is home to some of the most popular Swiss wines, such as Gamay and Chasselas, that have been historically grown in the area. You can also find a range of international grapes like Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Merlot.
Best Wineries in Switzerland to Visit
St. Jodern Kellerei, Visperterminen
Strong roots meet innovative methods at St. Jodern Kellerei whose vineyards in Valais are Europe’s highest, located (at a height of 1150 meters above sea level) in Visperterminen. They’re well-known for their Heida grape variety which is cultivated in terraced vineyards on the slopes of the Heidadorf.
On wine-tasting tours at St. Jodern Kellerei, you can sample some of their premium red and white wines along with bread, cheese, and Valais specialties, or raclette, and also visit their wine cellar. They have a wide range of award-winning wines including many produced from their signature Heida grapes.
Domaine Jean-René Germanier
Located in Balavaud in the canton of Valais, Domaine Jean-René Germanier has a winemaking heritage that goes back to 1896. They produce a wide range of both red and white wines. One of the highlights here is visiting their historic vaulted wine cellar which makes for a particularly charming location for a wine-tasting.
They offer various types of tastings that involve guided tours of the wine cellar, manufacturing facilities, and vineyards. Food pairing experiences include Valaisian specialties, raclette, and fondue. It’s best to make a reservation for a wine tasting in advance here, especially if you’re visiting outside of the summer months.
Domaines Rouvinez SA
A family-owned and independent winemaker established in 1947, Domaines Rouvinez SA in the canton of Valais defines its wines in terms of terroir and character. They pay special attention to cultivating vines and producing wines in a manner that is respectful of the natural environment of the area.
They produce a wide range of white, red, and rosé wines and are known for their organic Nez Noir range and oak-barrel-aged Le Tourmentin wines.
The family-owned estate at Domaine Bovy has been passed down through the generations and offers plenty of history for wine lovers as well as gorgeous views of Lake Geneva and the Swiss Alps.
The estate owns 8 hectares of terraced vineyards in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lavaux in the canton of Vaud. Chasselas, Pinot Gris, Gamay, and Pinot Noir are the main varieties of grape cultivated by the estate.
A tour here involves a visit to their 16th-century cellars to learn how they age their Chasselas in oak barrels and the overall winemaking processes. Various tasting and aperitif packages are available, with and without cheese, charcuterie, and bread.
If you’d rather have a tasting surrounded by the vines, then ask for a tasting to be arranged in their little vineyard in the terraces of Lavaux where a simple setup offers a romantic ambiance with top-notch views.
On summer weekends, they also offer brunch packages that combine fresh produce, quality wines, and music by local DJs, all on their sunny terrace.
Their La Vigne vinotherapy spa experience combines the relaxation of a bath, superb vineyard views, expert massages, and some of their finest Chasselas wine.
Want to spend the night? They offer accommodation in a dreamy one-bedroom apartment for up to four persons that offers incredible mountain and vineyard views. It comes with a kitchen and balcony
Domaine De La Crausaz
Located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Lavaux Vineyard Terraces, Domaine De La Crausaz has a wine heritage that goes back to 1515. Like other wineries in the area, the estate also offers sublime views over Lake Geneva and the Lavaux terraces from its charming terrace.
Chasselas, Gamay, Pinot Noir, Diolinoir, and Gamaret are just some of the wines you can expect to sample here. They also offer overnight accommodation in apartments, suitable for up to 4 people, with vineyard and lake views.
Henri Cruchon Vigneron
At Domaine Henri Cruchon, a family-owned winery in the Vaud region, founded in 1976, cultivation and wine production takes place bio-dynamically i.e. without the use of chemicals. Their vineyards in the Morges region of Vaud cultivate the region’s favorite Chasselas, as well as Pinot Noir, among other varieties.
They offer two wine-tasting experiences — of six wines or of 12 wines each as well as the option for cheese pairing. They also host various events throughout the year.
Located in breathtaking surroundings at 1400 ft above sea level with views over Lake Lugano and hillside vineyards, Moncucchetto is a popular winery in the Ticino region. It offers tastings, an onsite restaurant, cooking classes, and themed evenings. The winemaking history at this winery, attached to an old farm and farmhouse dates to the early 70s and began with the production of Merlot.
The contemporary building that houses the winery was designed by architect Mario Botta. Helmed by acclaimed chef Andrea Muggiano, a meal at the restaurant that offers a menu of seasonal dishes prepared from fresh, locally-grown produce, is a highlight of a visit here.
Moncucchetto regularly welcomes wine enthusiasts to experience a more tailored experience to learn about the company and its wines, finishing off with wine tasting in their beautiful tasting room (book this in advance).
In Ticino, the multi-award-winning winery Cantina Monti welcomes visitors to learn about the history of this proud family-run winery through cantina tours and wine tasting. Founded by highly respected winemaker Sergio Monti, today the winery is run by his son Ivo Monti.
Surrounded by vineyards, the winery located 550 meters above sea level is in a fantastic location too. Visits are only available on weekdays with a reservation.
With a history going back to the 1930s, Settemaggio SA is a family-run winery in the Ticino region that consists of an organic farm and a biogas plant. Grape varieties cultivated in their vineyards include Merlot, Pinot Noir, Gamaret, and Marselan, among others.
They offer personalized wine tasting for small groups that involve vineyard and cellar visits in Monte Carasso or Giornico, wine tastings, and food pairings with regional specialties. There’s also an option to combine this with a mindful activity of silently walking across the Magadino plain with their horse.
They can also offer guided visits (on request) to other cultural sites such as museums and churches in the area, for both their Monte Carasso and Giornico locations.
For those looking to get more active in winemaking, Settemaggio offers the chance to participate in the grape harvest in their vineyards, followed by wine tasting with their sommelier and a Ticino-style lunch of regional dishes in a traditional restaurant.
For those who’d like to stay overnight, there’s the option to do that at their guesthouse and mini spa in Ca’ Pölete that also allows guests use of their sauna, whirlpool, and cold plunge pool
With a stunning location on the banks of Lake Neuchâtel with vineyards overlooking the lake, the family-owned Lavanchy Vins estate grows varieties like Chasselas, Pinot Noir, Gamaret, Garanoir, and Diolinoir.
They offer tours of their vineyards and cellars with tastings by appointment. Expect to sample a variety of their white and red wines.
Bio-Weingut Sitenrain in the German-speaking wine region of Switzerland is an award-winning organic winery that offers a variety of wine experiences with something for everyone.
Set on 4.5 hectares, their vineyards are used to only produce organic wines from white grape varieties such as Solaris and Souvignier Gris and red varieties like Maréchal Foch and Cabernet Cortis.
Also part of the estate is a renovated farm and vegetable garden. Their farm shop is open to visits till 1 pm.
Their open-air terrace is a fabulous location to sample wines and nibble on a cheese platter with views over the vineyards and Lake Lucerne. Or if you’re visiting during cooler months, then cozy up in their wine cellar-turned-raclette parlor with a four-course raclette menu, expertly paired of course, with some of their premium wines.
Other experiences on offer include winemaker packages, a varieties walk in their vineyard, and guided wine tastings.
Wineries in Geneva
La Cave de Genève SA
La Cave de Genève SA, which started as a cooperative of winemakers in 1929, is one of the biggest wine producers in Geneva that offer visits to their cellar as well as wine tastings. No appointment is needed to do the wine tasting here, and their cellar and shop are both open daily.
Established in 1872, the wine cellar at Les Gondettes is known for its unique architecture and its love of art. The estate cultivates nearly 12 grape varieties over 12 hectares.
Try their themed tasting workshops that happen in the estate’s cellar. A platter of locally produced fresh products is served after the tasting. The cellar also hosts art exhibitions twice a year.
Wineries around Lake Zurich
Located in Stäfa, Bachmann Winery is a family-owned and run winery that produces sustainable wines from grapes cultivated in terraced vineyards with sublime views over Lake Zurich. A visit offers the chance to listen to the family’s stories, learn about the unique climate of the area, and tour the cellars and vineyards.
A tasting at Bachmann Winery means you’ll sample some of their best wines including their light and fresh ‘Lake Wines’ like Räuschling and Riesling-Silvaner, and more complex ‘Mountain Wines’ like Blanc De Noir and Chardonnay. You’ll also nibble on local specialties while enjoying the breathtaking surroundings.
Reservations must be made in advance as guided visits and tastings are available by appointment only.
The winemaking heritage in the upper region of Lake Zurich, where Höcklistein Winery is located, goes back 1,000 years. Thanks to the abundant sunshine that falls on its vineyards, Höcklistein winery produces truly remarkable wines, considered among the finest in the area.
On a visit to this father-daughter-run winery, expect to taste Räuschling, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Merlot among other wines, along with admiring brilliant views of Lake Zurich. Their beautiful wine lounge includes a bright indoor space as well as a sunny terrace with views and also serves food.
They also organize events throughout the year, such as vineyard visits and tastings with a sommelier, along with lunch.
It’s best to reserve in advance.
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