In June 2007, following the first Grand Prix du Vin Suisse tasting, organised by Vinum and Vinea in Sierre, I was frustrated. The last day, we tasted two very distinct wines, a typical Räuschling from the canton of Zurich, which received only 83 points in my tasting group dominated by French speaking contributors. Meanwhile an almost oily Johanisberg with low acidity was granted a golden certificate. At that moment I felt the weight of the "Röschtigraben" at my tasting table ("Röschtigraben" is the name for the language and cultural barrier between the French and the German speaking Switzerland). The French Swiss had very different ideas than the German speaking about what a good wine was.
Ten years later, 150 winemakers, wine merchants, sommeliers and journalists gathered again to taste around 3,000 wines at the Grand Prix du Vin Suisse. And the miracle happened! The Räuschling received among the highest scores from the Valais tasters and German Swiss contributors finally find took pleasure in discovering the uniqueness of the Johannisberg. Obviously in 10 years, not only tasters evolved, so did the quality of wines.
The Grand Prix du Vin Suisse impacts several aspects of the Swiss wine community: first the Gala in Bern celebrates the best Swiss winemakers and gold or silver medals, which rime with quality, are always appreciated by consumers. Second this exercise helps develop a federalist wine scene, multilingual and multicultural.
Thomas Vaterlaus, editor in chief at Vinum
Here are the 73 nominees for the 2016 selection
Visit www.vinea.ch/de/grand-prix-du-vin-suisse/ for results
PINOT NOIR: Domaine Chantemerle, Domaine La Capitaine, Weingut Davaz, Willi Ryffel, Weinbaugenossenschaft Schinznach, Strickhof - Kompetenzzentrum für Land- und Ernährungswirtschaft