Switzerland only exports 1 to 2 percent of its wine production, so few know of its stony whites, which pair ideally with raw hard and melted Swiss cheeses. While most cantons make wine, there are few places better to sip Swiss wines than the UNESCO-listed Lavaux, dangling on the banks of Lake Geneva and 90 minutes north of the city in Canton Vaud. An e-bike is the best way to explore the steep hilly region peppered with slate-roofed chapels and chocolate-box villages. The grapes here were planted by 9th-century monks; the terraces they built for them are lined with stone walls that retain the sun’s heat, extending the grape-growing season. Unique varietals like ermitage, doral, and gamay, and ancient Lémanic reds like the Plant-Robert varietal, are grown only here. E-bike rentals can be picked up from most Swiss railway stations; Lausanne, 20 minutes away, is the closest. As with all wineries in Switzerland, calling ahead to arrange a visit is essential.
By Adam H. Graham, AFAR Contributor
Lavaux-Oron District, Switzerland