The Best Vineyards In Geneva, Switzerland

Swiss Vineyards
Swiss Vineyards | © Mark Goebel/Flickr
Carly Minsky

Switzerland’s vineyards, unlike those of neighboring France, are small, family affairs that produce some of Europe’s best wine. Grown on the slopes surrounding Lake Geneva, Swiss grapes make for light, easy-drinking wines that are rarely exported but probably should be. Take a tour of the best vineyards around Lake Geneva and find out about this under-appreciated wine region.

Vineyards in Sion, Geneva

In the fertile hills that surround Geneva, a rambler will discover a rural scene entirely removed from the modern, almost sterile city that lies just miles away. The rolling landscape is completely blanketed by lush vineyards, broken only by rustic villages of quaint stone cottages which house the farmers and vintner families that have produced their unique wine for generations. The Geneva slopes, Switzerland’s third largest wine-producing area, cover three distinct regions: rive droit – the right bank of the Lake, including Satigny village, which boasts the most dense concentration of winegrowers in the country, entre Arve et Lac – the left bank of the Lake, stretching between it and the Arve river, and entre Arve et Rhone – the strip of land sandwiched between the Arve and Rhone rivers.
Geneva city dwellers, and visitors from across Switzerland and neighboring France, often travel the countryside, stopping at the small independent wineries to try and buy the year’s produce and the vintages brought up from traditional cellars. Once a year almost 100 of the domaines – wine fields – open their associated caves – cellars – to the public, welcoming wine enthusiasts in to sample their produce at the caves ouvertes. The following represents the range of traditional, unique and award-winning vineyards and cellars dotted around Geneva. The following represents the range of traditional, unique and award-winning vineyards and cellars dotted around Geneva.

Satigny

La Cave de Genève

In the aforementioned village of Satigny, La Cave de Genève has been setting the benchmark for top quality Swiss wine since its founding 20 years back. Year after year, the wines produced here by the dedicated team, led by winemakers Florian Barthassat and Patrick Gräzer, win prestigious awards at international wine competitions. This year, La Cave de Genève’s Aiglette, Sauvignon Blanc 2012 triumphed at the Concours World Sauvignon 2014 in Bordeaux, where it was bestowed Switzerland’s only gold award, judged amongst 750 wines from 22 different countries by 60 industry specialists. Earlier in the year its Viognier de Genève 2012 – “La clé du temps” – delighted the panel at the 20th Vinalies Internationales wine competition in Paris, ultimately winning a silver medal.
La Cave de Genève, Rue du Pré-Bouvier 30, Satigny, Switzerland, +41 22 753 11 33

Domaine du Paradis

Another deservedly revered family winery in Satigny, Domaine du Paradis has been approaching La Cave de Genève’s level of international recognition in recent years. Whilst their gorgeous jardin des senteurs – scented garden – where visitors can enjoy the gelato and classical music accompaniment at the caves ouvertes and various seasonal events, the main attraction is, of course, the produce of their vines. Amongst the many varieties of grape and wine produced here, the Sauvignon blanc has won both gold and silver awards at prominent international competitions in Paris and Bordeaux, and can be sampled in the rustic underground vault, whose warm atmosphere and design is described by the owners as channeling ‘an Indian summer’. The stylish cellar welcomes wine enthusiasts for a tasting session lead by the owners’ daughter, who immerses guests in the vintner’s world.
Domaine du Paradis – Roger Burgdorfer, 275, Rte du Mandement, Satigny Switzerland, +41 22 753 18 55

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