With a wine history dating back to Roman times, the canton of Thurgau today boasts two-hundred-and-fifty hectares of vine and almost the same number of producers, ranging from independent grape growers to larger commercially-focused cooperatives. The variety of grapes grown here has increased significantly in the last decade with Thurgau’s producers, like most in Switzerland, experimenting with everything from old, indigenous varieties to newly developed hybrids, many of which have found their perfect terroir around the shores of Lake Constance or strewn in small parcels across the canton’s gentle hills.
Much of Thurgau’s wine is produced from the vineyards in its north-eastern regions, where the vines enjoy a sunny, south-facing aspect and the temperature moderating benefits of nearby Lake Constance. The crystal clear waters of the lake also allows for a large amount of sunlight to be reflected from its surface, thus providing additional heat to the vines.
In all, there are six sub-zones - Lauchetal, Oberes Thurtal, Rheingebiet, Seebachtal, Unteres Thurtal and Untersee. The Oberes Thurtal - encompassing the municipalities of Ottoberg and Weinfelden, is particularly well regarded with a number of its producers listed among the most recent Gault & Millau ‘Best Winemakers in Switzerland’.
Pinot Noir (51%) is by far the most prolific variety cultivated across Thurgau’s vineyards, producing a range of wines reflective of the various soil types and micro-climates of the canton’s sub-zones. Typically vinified red, the grape delivers a spectrum of varietals from light, easy-drinking examples to complex, barrel-aged wines, as well as a number of lively rosés and exclusive ‘ice wines’. Its white counterpart - Müller-Thurgau (named for this - the canton of its creation, and yet somewhat ironically referred to as Riesling-Sylvaner in Switzerland), accounts for around 25% of production and returns mostly aromatic mono-varietal wines. Other varieties of note in the canton include reds - Regent, Cabernet Jura, Garanoir and Dakapo, and whites - Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Solaris.