LAVAUX BY TRAIN
Board this mini ‘train des caveaux' for a scenic trip through Lavaux's terraced vineyards. Monks in the 12th century planted the first vines on the sun drenched slopes above Lake Geneva. Now the terraces span 830 hectares, and are a UNESCO world heritage site. Locals say that what makes the wine so special is the ‘three way effect' of the sun; shining on the vines, reflecting off the water and warming the stone terraces. The evening tour starts from the village of Lutry at 18:30 on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday evening. You stop in a village to visit a wine cellar and taste some of the local specialities. Wine in this region is made from the Chasselas grape which produces a fruity and dry taste with subtle aromas, ideal with raclette or fondue. Be sure to book on the evening tour, as the daytime train trips include only the stunning views, not the wine tasting!
From April to October
CHF 25 per adult. CHF 6 per child.
BACK TO SCHOOL
For all you budding sommeliers out there Changins Wine School in Nyon offers courses to amateurs and professionals, and now also has a federally recognized diploma programme for sommeliers. Changins is also the only institution in Switzerland offering degree courses, the Bachelor of Science and now also the Master of Science, in viticulture and oenology. Since 1948, it has been teaching students the surprisingly diverse factors involved in creating wine, including the biology and chemistry of grapes, the study of soils and climate, operating machinery and business management.
BOOKS AND MAGAZINES
Want to know about wine walks and events in the Geneva region? Terrific Terroir is a free annual magazine sponsored by the Geneva Wine Promotion office and lists events and wine itineraries in the region. The magazine comes out once a year in early May and stays relevant until the following Spring.
This is a recently published handy book, by Ellen Wallace, on Swiss wines for people who like wine but don't know much about it, combining richly illustrated photos of wine villages and of those who work the vines with information on the grapes and the wines. Also, check out the author's wine blog, with regular postings in English of what's happening in the wine world, from the rumblings in the industry about Chasselas, to a feature on the world's best Sommelier (in 2013 it was Paolo Basso from Ticino).
This app was created to replace the book version of The Swiss Wine Guide, the go-to reference on Swiss wines. You can read a brief summary of each of the 500 featured wine producers or filter the list by prize, region and type of wine. An interactive map divides the country into six wine-making regions and, at a touch, provides information about the region, its vineyards and the best wines produced there. The app also keeps you up to date with the latest Swiss wine news.
Use your smart phone to order Swiss wines directly from the producers' cellars. Search the listings for your favorites or try wines you've never had before.
If you need help with the basics of wine, this app is for you. There are ‘how to's that cover everything from opening and pouring wine to tasting and storing it. Once that's covered, the app pairs wine with your food. Choose your dish: For example fish > salmon > grilled > with herbs > side of rice, for a list of wines that complement the meal. Unfortunately Swiss wines aren't included, but each pairing explains why it suits the particular meal and this information can help you choose a similar local wine.
All year long we celebrate life's moments with wine, but autumn is the time to celebrate wine itself. There are wine festivals and fairs throughout Switzerland. Check them out on our Pinterest board.
Images: swiss-image.ch / Marcus Gyger, Changins School, CFS Communication, itunes.apple.com, pinterest.com