Although the majority of Swiss wine is produced in the French speaking part of the country, there are still plenty of opportunities to try great wine in the northern, German-speaking cantons.
- Nadine Saxer
Located just North of Zurich, up near the town of Winterthur is a wine maker by the name of Nadine Saxer. Originally founded in the 1990s by Jürg Saxer, it remains a family business to this day: it is now run by Jürg’s daughter, Nadine, and her husband.
Their vineyard spans 7.4 hectares, producing 14 different wines each year. Their property also boasts a modern, new building extension, which includes an updated wine storage room, barrel cellar and tasting area. All can be seen on a trip to the winery.
The Saxer’s take great pride in their business and are widely recognized as one of the best, young vineyards in all of Switzerland. They have formally been recognized in recent years at the Grand Prix du Vin Suisse with several awards, but most notably with the highest award in the Riesling-Sylvaner category for their Sylvie 2014 and in the Pinot Noir category for their Tête de Cuvée 2012, which was chosen as the third best Pinot Noir from the Switzerland.
- Travel time: From Zurich HB it is approximately 1-hour total travel time.
- Booking: During the summer months, the cellar is open for drop in tastings and sales on Fridays (16:00-18:30) and Saturdays (11:00-16:00). If these days do not suite your schedule you can try calling in advance to arrange a visit outside these opening hours.
- Cost: no fee for a basic tasting, but if you would like to arrange something more (e.g. guided tour/tasting, accompaniment of lunch or snacks, etc) there will be a fee. They are also reluctant to offer more than a basic tasting unless you have a group of 10 people minimum.
- Website: http://www.nadinesaxer.ch/
- Weingut Schipf
Schipf is a beautiful, historic vineyard located on the Gold Coast of Lake Zurich. Vines have been growing on these hills for ~600 years and the current owner’s family, the von Meyenbergs, have been running the operation for the past 120. Wines are still pressed in the 300-year-old cellar and the family lives in the stately homes that were built on the property during the 17th and 18th centuries.
Kaspar von Meyenburg, the family patriarch, often personally leads you on a tour of the grounds and guides you through a generous tasting of whites (Räuschling, Riesling x Sylvaner and specialties such as Pinot gris and Chardonnay among others) and of course, reds (primarily Pinot Noir, the most popular grape in Switzerland). We also suggest trying their Rosé, especially if you are visiting during the warm summer months.
Kaspar is an extremely kind, hospitable host with excellent English. I highly recommend this vineyard for both the atmosphere and the wines!
- Travel time: From Zurich HB it is roughly 30 minutes total travel time.
- Booking: During the summer months, the cellar is open on Saturdays from 10:00 – 16:00. Drop ins are welcomed, but if you want to ensure a proper, guided tasting, we recommend calling ahead. Cheese/bread accompaniments are also often available at no charge.
- Cost: no fee for the tasting, but a tip or wine purchase is recommended. These wines are not distributed so all the more reason to bring home some bottles for a unique gift or to keep on hand yourself.
- Website: http://schipf.ch/
If you are not as keen on visiting an actual vineyard, these wine Shops have a great selection, knowledgeable staff and often let you taste. All of which can be accessed via Zurich’s city tram/bus system.
Globus & Jemoli: High-end department stores, Globus and Jemoli, also have decent wine selections in their basement food markets and are most conveniently located in the city center, right off the Bahnhofstrasse. Easy to miss if you do not know these markets exist and are worth a visit for more than just the wine.
Landolt Weine: https://www.landolt-weine.ch/startseite
Zweifel Weine: http://www.zweifelweine.ch/
So, if you are visiting Zurich and do not have the time to venture South, take a quick escape to one of these great spots!
Tip: Want to look like you have done a bit of research before raising a glass? Many know “Prost”, the German word for “Cheers”. Alternatively, tradition calls for looking each person in the eye, clinking glasses and exclaiming “Zum Wohl”! Which also means “Cheers” or more literally “to your health”.
Sarah, Free Walk Zurich