The Swiss province of Geneva lies in the Rhône valley between Jura and the Alps. Almost surrounded by France, and one of the smallest provinces, it is one of Switzerland's most important wine regions. With its 1,400 hectares of vineyards Geneva is Switzerland's 3rd largest Swiss wine region and accounts for about 10% of national production. Wine production has gone on uninterrupted here on Lake Geneva and around the city for almost 2,000 years - producing between 8-12 million litres of wine annually.
In Geneva there are some 200 grape growers and 95 wineries in the province producing a range of high-quality wines from classic grape varieties like Chasselas the prince of wines: featuring a diversity of soils, climate and site orientation.
The vineyards of Lake Geneva surely presents the greatest terroir variety. Often going under the alias ‘Perlan’, the Chasselas grape is the principal white wine grape of Geneva and it accounts for over half of the white wine production. However Geneva does well internationally with the more well-known wine grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Riesling Silvaner (Müller Thurgau), Sauvignon Blanc, Gewürztraminer, Scheurebe and Aligoté.
As for the red wine grapes in the Geneva wine region, Gamay does particularly well in this area resulting in a dense, fruity wine. In Geneva you will also find Cabernet Sauvignon, Gamaret, Garanoir, Kerner, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Syrah. Gamay, the second most important variety, contains the fruity notes of its native Beaujolais. Pinot Noir yields strong, full-bodied wines with finesse. Behind this main group follows a small percentage of specialty grape varieties that are specific to the Lake Geneva region, such as Mondeuse, Plant Robert and Servagnin.
The Lake Geneva Region counts 28 appellations distributed over six regions AOC, each of which has its own topographical and climatological specificity. Lavaux is considered a site of universal value and is now listed as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Programme since 2007. The impressive slopes of the Lavaux terraced vineyards located between Lausanne and Chillon Castle and above Vevey and Montreux. Lavaux vineyards represent approximately 22% of the total winegrowing area. Lavaux’s steep terrace slopes that run all the way down to Lake Geneva, cover an area of 830 hectares between Lausanne and Montreux. These sites enjoy a Mediterranean climate, warm temperatures and the reflection of the light from the lake.
Other key wine areas include: Bonvillars, Calamin Grand Cru, Chablais, Côtes de l'Orbe, La Côte vineyards with 810ha, representing 53% of the total winegrowing area, Dézaley Grand Cru - which has the steepest vineyards (100% slopes) and finishing off is the area of Vully.
Advantaged by a favourable climate, optimum soil conditions and an effective diffusion of grape varietals, Geneva's wine region produces a number of distinguished wines, both red and white in near equal quantities.