Wine Regions And Producers
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Although much of Switzerland is German-speaking, winemaking is concentrated in the cantons near the border with Germany - a region known as Ostschweiz (east Switzerland). Wines from the Ostschweiz region are generally drunk within a year of the vintage; white wines are mainly from Riesling-Sylvaner (Muller-Thurgau) and reds from Blauburgunder (Pinot Noir, which is also known as Clevner or Beerli).

The Fohn, a warm breeze from the Alps, helps to ripen Blauburgunder. The old white varieties, the aromatic Completer and the elegant Rauschling, are grown to a very limited extent. Scattered throughout the region are growers who are trying to make wines with more structure than in the past - using Pinot Noir for red wines and Chardonnay for whites. Barrique-ageing is not uncommon.
The largest wine-producing cantons are Zurich and Schaffhausen (although even they buy much white wine from Valais). Most of Zurich's crop is handled by two cooperative cellars in Wadenswil and Winterthur. Some 200 growers also deliver their grapes to the Staatskellereien des Kantons Zurich, the state-owned cellars. Wine is often made on very small estates linked to a restaurant where the wine is sold; apart from the co-ops, one of the best-known producers is Meier.

The canton of Graubunden, or Grisons, the largest in Switzerland, has 376ha (930 acres) of vineyard. Under the benign influence of the Fohn wind, the winegrowing district of the Bundner Rheintal, or Bundner Herrschaft, enjoys the warmest climate in the eastern part of the Confederation. Almost the entire vineyard area is planted in Blauburgunder (Pinot Noir), producing, in good years, wines with an average 13 of alcohol. Full and soft, their relatively low acidity makes them ideal for drinking within two years or so of the vintage. A small amount of Riesling-Sylvaner is also grown. As in the other German-speaking cantons, wine is often made on very small estates, for local consumption.

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