Editor’s note: Gail Mangold Vine is the editor of Terrific Terroir and of Touring Geneva Wine Country. Terrific Terroir, 24 pages, published 9 May, is available for free from tourism offices in Geneva, Payot Chantepoulet, Off the Shelf bookstore and some 200 other distribution points. The author will also send a PDF file to anyone who requests it. It is also available on www.opage.ch. The magazine includes an excellent section on Geneva wines, part of which is produced here.
Some Basic Info About Geneva Wines
Geneva is Switzerland’s third largest wineproducing canton, after Valais and Vaud. Vineland twines through residential areas and around villages, some of them less than 10 minutes from city center, and covers about 1,500 hectares of the canton’s total surface of 282 km2.
Geneva boasts the largest wine-growingcommunity in all of Switzerland, Satigny on the Right Bank, but there are vineyards and wineries in all parts
of the canton – on the Left Bank, between the Arve and Rhône rivers, and even in tiny Céligny, a Geneva enclave in the canton of Vaud.
Presently producing some 10 million liters of wine annually, about half red and half white, Geneva is experiencing a remarkable renaissance in both the quality and the variety of its wines. Recent years have seen broad diversification of grape varieties, away from the ubiquitous Chasselas and Gamay,
and an upsurge in the number of vintners who are trained enologists. Their spirit of creativity puts them in the vanguard of Swiss winemakers. But Geneva has also led the way in Switzerland in two other respects: its sustainable growing techniques (in fact, the largest organic winery in Switzerland is
in Geneva), and as the first Swiss canton to introduce Appellation d’origine contrôlée (A.O.C.) regulation.
Kinds of wine
Just some of the exciting wines being produced in Geneva today include fullbodied red blends, subtle oak-aged vintages, sophisticated sparkling wines, and exquisite sweet wines. There is even an upsurge in well-made, image-changing Chasselas and Gamay wines. While grapes grown in Geneva now number over 40 varieties and include Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinot Noir, two relative newcomers, Gamaret and Garanoir, are fast joining the ranks of Geneva’s flagship varieties.
Of nearly 950 wines presented at the 2006 national Swiss selections, 75 were from Geneva, and, of those, 41 – a whopping 55%, the highest percentage in the history of the competition – were named "national ambassadors". Of the 28 wines voted best Swiss wines, seven were Genevois and two of them made it into the Top Ten (see Gold Medallists.)
Stunning results are also regularly achieved in the international competitions in Bordeaux, Paris,
Brussels and Verona – the Cave de Genève’s ‘Baccarat Brut Blanc de Blancs Chardonnay’, for
example, won gold at the 2007 Chardonnay du Monde competition in Burgundy. The website of
Geneva’s wine promotion offi ce, OPAGE, offers regular updates on wines that win prizes at home and
Finding out more
Besides this annual free publication, which is also posted in PDF at www.opage.ch, information
in English is available in Touring Geneva Wine Country (see p. 3). For those who read French or German, there are further options. The 2007 supplement on Geneva wines produced by the prestigious
Zurich-based wine magazine VINUM is available in both French and German free of charge at
Geneva Tourism or through email@example.com.
Wine Tasting Events
Caves ouvertes May 12, 2007 see pp. 19-20
Brunch at farms and wineries August 1, 2007 www.brunch.ch
Vinathon September 1, 2007 Mandement –
more at www.gym-mandement.com
Geneva Tourism Wine Tasting September 10-22, 2007 Mont-Blanc office –
call 022 909 70 00
Semaine du Goût September 13-23, 2007 www.gout.ch
Russin Harvest Festival September 15-16, 2007 see p. 21
Vendange Comme Autrefois End September Hermance – pending confirmation
Call 022 751 13 20
Foire de Genève November 8-18, 2007 Palexpo – more at
Fête de la St.-Martin November 10, 2007* Peissy (Satigny) – call Bernard
Rochaix, 022 753 90 00
Barkavin November 29-December 1, 2007
Boat moored at Jardin Anglais, Geneva City – more at www.barkavin.ch
* On your way to or from St. Martin f estivities, why not pop in at the Autumn Festival on November
10 and 11, 2007 at Domaines & Terroirs, 112 Route du Mandement in the village of Satigny, T 02
753 11 61. They sell fine food and top Swiss wines. There will also be an art exhibition.
Gewürztraminer ‘Les Raretés’ 2005 Domaine Villard et Fils, Anières
Oak-aged Pinot Noir ‘La Croix’ 2004 Domaine Beauvent, Bernex
Pinot Noir ‘Curiades’ 2003 Domaine des Curiades, Lully (Bernex)
Rosé ‘Château du Crest’ 2005 Château du Crest, Jussy
‘Rose des Vignes’ 2005 Domaine des Esserts, Dardagny*
‘Gamaret l’Essentiel’ 2004 Domaine des Curiades, Lully (Bernex)*
‘L’Ambroisie’, 2004 Stéphane Gros, Dardagny
* Among the Top Ten Swiss wines of 2006