Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Wines of Weingut Saxer in Switzerland

Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller with Alfred and Madeleine Saxer

I only drink Swiss wine, when I am in Switzerland. And when I am in Switzerland, I drink nothing else but Swiss wines. This posting deals with Weingut Saxer, a producer of fine wine in the German speaking part of Switzerland.

Weinrallye #53 Schweizerwein – Swiss Wine

This posting is being published as part of the Weinrallye, a monthly blog event in Germany. Participating wine bloggers - mainly in Germany - are all releasing postings today under the heading "Swiss wine". Weinrallye is the brainchild of Thomas Lippert, a winemaker and wine blogger based in Heidelberg, Germany. The first wine rally took place in 2007. Thomas Lippert is the author of the wine blog Winzerblog.

This month's wine rally is organized by Peter Zuellig, who – if I am not mistaken – organizes this wine blogger event without having a blog himself.

Wine Producer Switzerland

Switzerland is a small wine producer with about 15 000 hectares of vineyards only. This is about 15 percent of Germany’s total winegrowing area and a bit more than 1 percent of that of Spain. Only less than 2% of the wine is exported, mainly to Germany.

Picture: Switzerland

Switzerland's particular situation - in between four wine-producing nations (France, Italy, Germany and Austria) and itself divided into four different areas with different languages and traditions - has resulted in an extreme diversity of its wines, although wine is mainly produced in the French part of Switzerland, in the cantons of Geneva, Neuchâtel, Ticino, Valais and Vaud.

Switzerland has an extensive range of grape varieties. Among the white grapes, the Chasselas is the most widespread. Müller-Thurgau, cultivated above all in the German speaking part of Switzerland, and Sylvaner are also popular. The main red grape varieties are Pinot Noir, which can be found in all the wine-producing regions of Switzerland, and Gamay, which predominates in the Valais; Merlot has found a second home in the Italian speaking part of Switzerland, the Ticino. In addition, there are 40 or so indigenous grapes, all of them practically unknown anywhere else in the world.

The Saxer Estate in the German Speaking Part of Switzerland

The Saxer Estate is located in the German part of Switzerland, which comprises 17 cantons. Wine is produced in each of the 17 cantons, although the quantities are sometimes small and the vineyards can be widely scattered. The unity of the region comes from its shared Swiss-German traditions.

Pictures: Weingut Saxer

The red grape varieties dominate. One quarter of the vineyard area is planted with Pinot Noir. The white grape varieties, often Müller-Thurgau, only cover 25% of the wine-growing area.

The Saxer Estate

The Saxer family has a long tradition in the village of Nussbaumen in Thurgau. The Saxers have always been involved with winemaking, but also with agriculture and dairy farming. With the establishment of a wine cellar in 1974 by Alfred and Verena Saxer, viticulture and winemaking moved to the center.

Pictures: Saxer Vineyards

Since 2002, the management has been transferred entirely to the siblings Freddie and Madeleine Saxer. Freddie Saxer takes the lead in terms of viticulture and winemaking; Madeleine Saxer takes the lead in terms of administration and sales. Parents Alfred and Verena are still involved in all aspects of the winery.

The Saxer Estate is 500 meters above sea level, which is quite high. They cultivate about 8 hectares, which translates into about 80.000 bottles per year. Most of the wine is sold at the premise directly to the consumer.

The Saxer Wine Portfolio

Pictures: The Saxer Wine Cellar

The Saxer’s wine portfolio consists of about 20 wines. 8 of them are white wines, all of them dry. The Nussbaumen Mueller-Thurgau is Saxer’s white flagship wine. The grape variety Mueller Thurgau was created in the 1800 by the Swiss Hermann Mueller from the canton Thurgau - hence the name - in Geisenheim, Germany. The Saxers have also started to grow Gruener Veltliner, which is a mainstream grape variety in neighboring Austria, but not much known in Switzerland. Alfred Saxer bought the vines from his colleague Bruendlmayer in the Kamptal area in Austria a few years ago.

Among the 12 red wines, Pinot Noir dominates. The wine portfolio is complemented by a sweet Pinot Noir wine, a rose wine and a sparkler, brut. The Saxers also produce brandies from various fruits.

This posting is based on an earlier posting: The Wines of Weingut Saxer, a Winemaker in the German-speaking part of Switzerland

Here are my contributions to the Weinrallye in previous months.


  1. Lieber Christian,
    nur eine Kleinigkeit - ich führe einen Blog, ganz einfach auf
    Meine normale Website befasst sich zwar auch mit Wein, ist aber als Sammler-Treffpunkt thematisch breiter (
    Herzlichen Dank für die ausgezeichnete Analyse zum Schweizer Wein und der Präsentation eines wirklich guten Betriebs, der sich immer wieder durch Innovation und Qualitätsbewusstsein auszeichnet. Als Ergänzung: ein Hinweis auf den Erdwein, den das Weingut letztes Jahr kreiert hat:

  2. Hallo Christian,
    ich dachte nicht, dass noch jemand außerhalb der Schweiz Saxer kennt. Saxer Weine habe ich mal auf der ProWein kennen gelernt und seitdem nehme ich immer einige Flaschen mit, wenn ich in der Schweiz bin. Und deshalb habe ich Saxer auch in meinem Beitrag zur 53. Weinrallye aufgeführt. Die Weine haben es verdient.
    Mit vinophilen Grüßen, Joachim Kaiser

  3. This is really a very useful information on wines.