Switzerland is almost never associated with wine, yet in the Canton of Ticino there is a respectable production that deserves to be discovered.
We think of Switzerland as the stronghold of watches (and punctuality!) and banks. Or even chocolate. But there is another strong point that has allowed the Ticino area in particular to establish itself in recent years: wine.
Exploring the wine route in Ticino means walking along a themed route that is a fascinating succession of ancient villages, rural views, innovative wine cellars, romantic barriques in medieval castles, contemporary wine shops.
Wineries that not only offer valuable labels but are also splendid to look at, given the architecture signed by prestigious names on the contemporary scene.
In Ticino there are about 3 thousand grape producers, who work the precious natural resource at their disposal, in a landscape where hills and vineyards, lakes and mountains alternate in an uncontaminated nature.
The most widespread grape variety in the Ticino area is Merlot, which tradition obviously proposes in the classic red but which is now also available on the market with some white wine labels.
The wine route: Grand Tour of Ticino
Arriving in Ticino for the first time means being surprised and discovering that there are many routes available among the marked vineyards throughout the entire territory. Let's set out the highlights of two of the most fascinating itineraries for lovers of native Merlot: one in Mendrisiotto (the most famous region of the canton from this point of view) and the other in Malcantone, a historic place because it is here that Merlot cultivation began.
A region with an enchanting landscape, Mendrisiotto is located in the far south of Switzerland, on the border with Italy. One of the most important events when we talk about wine is the Mendrisio grape festival. It is held in September and represents a reference point for all lovers of quality wine, not only residents but also tourists and onlookers from nearby Italy.
Even the month of May sees wine as the undisputed protagonist of a renowned eno-gastronomic itinerary. In the Mendrisiotto area alone, there are about 30 wine cellars open. Although it is impossible to visit them one by one in person over the course of a single weekend, each of them displays its own excellent wine, alongside typical local tastings and appetizers such as polenta, gorgonzola, pork sandwiches, risotto, mixed grilled meats, cold cuts and local cheeses.
In this area of Ticino, there are about ten wineries producing the famous Merlot. Between Ponte Tresa and Sessa, along the road that leads to Luino, it is possible to make pleasant stops at local wineries, restaurants or typical grotti offering wine but also grappa or nocino. In addition to the many wineries in the area, we recommend a visit to the so-called Via della Vite, inaugurated on the occasion of the celebrations for the centenary of Merlot in Ticino. The journey lasts 9 hours and develops through vast vineyards and enchanting and sunny locations such as Sessa, Beride, Castelrotto, Croglio, Pura, Cademario. A stop at the wineries is highly recommended, considering the pleasant hospitality and the offer of free tasting of local products (which can then be purchased directly on-site).
In order to honour the tradition of wine production and distillation, we would like to remind you of the typical alembic festival of the municipality of Bioggio.
The most beautiful wineries to visit on the wine road in Ticino
Let's see in detail some of these renowned wineries to be included in your itinerary to discover the wine road in Ticino.
Wines: Sottobosco or Granito: The signature of the Agriloro winery in Genestrerio is by the Korean architect Dong Joon Lee. There is no lack of space in this elegant and avant-garde structure from the energy point of view.
Wine: Balin: The architect Piero Conconi signed the realization of the Koop Von der Crone Visini winery in Barbengo. A work perfectly integrated into the natural landscape that hosts it and a cultivation of the vineyards that is in line with the respect for biodiversity from which it draws inspiration.
Wine: Castello di Morcote: Overlooking Lake Lugano, the Castello di Morcote Estate perched on a hill together with its vineyards. The residence is historic and hosted Federico Barbarossa (during his trip to Italy), Francesco Sforza and Ludovico il Moro.
Wine: Refolo Brut: Mario Botta, of international fame, is the architect who built the Fattoria Moncuchetto in Lugano, situated between Lake Ceresio and Lake Muzzano.
Wine: Saetta: The Ghidossi cellars in Cadenazzo are the work of the architect Aurelio Galfetti who designed the project. It is an autochthonous granite building that pays homage to the surrounding area not only in the choice of the material used to build it but also for the production of wine, true local excellence.
Wine: Bianco Bio: Could not miss in this itinerary of the wine road, an organic product: in this case we are referring to the production of Rovio Ronco Wines, a winery designed by architect Luigia Carloni and an excellent combination of functionality and aesthetics. The white wine proposed (among the first in the area) is the flagship of the production.
While we are waiting to organize a weekend to discover the wine road in Ticino, it is not necessarily impossible to anticipate the tasting of the excellent local wines to date! Sellwine.ch is the online wine shop that offers a selection of the best labels available for quick delivery.