[ Note: This article was authored for and originally published by our friends at Girlfriend Guide to Zürich ]
Spring beckons! In Switzerland, that triggers not only tulips and Alpine bellflowers to open invitingly, but also the large variety of the nation’s wineries. During regional ‘Open Cellar’ holidays, wineries typically closed to the public throw their cellar doors wide open for visitors to tour, sample… and buy!
Whether surprisingly close to Zürich or a weekend excursion to another beautiful canton, don’t miss out on one of these:
Offene Weinkeller Deutschschweiz, 1 and 3 May 2014. No lame work excuse for Zürich-area residents to miss the celebration, it’s always held on the 1 May Labor Day holiday. Wineries throughout German-speaking Switzerland open for tastings, often with local food. Grab a train to Meilen or Stäfa (Zürich’s vineyard hubs), Schaffhausen or Fläsch (in Graubünden) and explore! Some wineries repeat on 3 May, so you don’t have to choose only one place to visit.
Uncorked Tip: Jump the S6 or S7 from Stadelhofen to Uetikon, then walk up the hill to see Erich Meier. There’s a fantastic tasting room with a great selection. But go early – this one is popular!
Cantine Aperte, Canton Ticino, 24-25 May 2014. Who can think of a more idyllic setting for wine tasting than the hills above Lake Lugano? Over 50 ‘cantine’ in Ticino offer their selection of Merlot wines, both red and white, as well as blends using international grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.
Uncorked Tip: Near Lugano, visit Weinstoff winery, where friendly dynamic owner Ralph Schädler leads you through his wines, recently lauded in Schweizer Illustrierte. Head to Bosco Luganese, get off at the ‘Chiesa’ bus stop and walk 100m to the ‘Acienda Vitivincola Theiler’ townhouse to find them. Shuttles available.
Tage der offenen Weinkeller im Wallis, 29, 30, 31 May 2014. This Ascension Day weekend, head south to the ‘California of Switzerland’ with almost guaranteed sunshine, thanks to their position in this large valley—and sunshine means ripe, fruity wines. Try some unexpected Swiss wines including bold Syrah, local quaffer Humagne Rouge, and the full-bodied white wine called Heida.
Uncorked Tip: Visit the quaint village of Salgesch, where wineries Gregor Kuonen and Adrian Mathier (only 500m apart) offer surprisingly full-bodied fruity reds. Try the Cabernet Sauvignon at Adrian Mathier (yes, it is a pleasant surprise)!
Vaudoise Open Cellar Days, 7-8 June 2014. Don’t forget lovely canton Vaud, whose lucky vines wake up daily to stunning Mont Blanc and Lake Geneva views. Choose from over 300 cellars to visit for only 15.- chf (includes shuttles). Expect white wines made from the local Chasselas grape, but named by the producing village: Aigle, Epesses, St. Saphorin and more. See if you can tell flavor changes between the difference in ‘terroir’, or soils, between various villages!
Uncorked Tip: With limited time, the Aigle Cloisters district offers 15 open wineries. Should your taste buds need a break, visit the castle in Aigle for a cultural diversion at no additional cost.