Ticino (wine region)

Last updated
Wine region
Official nameTicino
Year establishedin the Roman era
Years of wine industryVITI: since 1948; DOC: since 1997;
Part of Swiss wines
Precipitation (annual average)1500–2200 mm
Size of planted vineyards1,040 ha
No. of vineyards3,869
Grapes produced6'816'620 Kg
Varietals produced Merlot (and Bondola)
No. of wineries264
Official designation(s)DOC, VITI
CommentsAll data as of 2005

The wine region of Ticino started producing wine in the Roman era, but only after 1906, with the introduction of Merlot, did it begin to produce quality wine.

Merlot dark blue-colored variety of wine-making grape

Merlot is a dark blue-colored wine grape variety, that is used as both a blending grape and for varietal wines. The name Merlot is thought to be a diminutive of merle, the French name for the blackbird, probably a reference to the color of the grape. Its softness and "fleshiness", combined with its earlier ripening, makes Merlot a popular grape for blending with the sterner, later-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon, which tends to be higher in tannin.


Geographically the wine region is located in the south of Switzerland, and includes the canton Ticino and the neighbouring district of Moesa (Misox and Calanca valleys) in the canton of the Grisons, both areas being Italian-speaking.

Switzerland federal republic in Central Europe

Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a sovereign state situated in the confluence of western, central, and southern Europe. It is a federal republic composed of 26 cantons, with federal authorities seated in Bern. Switzerland is a landlocked country bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. It is geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning a total area of 41,285 km2 (15,940 sq mi), and land area of 39,997 km2 (15,443 sq mi). While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of approximately 8.5 million is concentrated mostly on the plateau, where the largest cities are located, among them the two global cities and economic centres of Zürich and Geneva.

Calanca Place in Graubünden, Switzerland

Calanca is a municipality in the Moesa Region in the Swiss canton of Graubünden. On 1 January 2015 the former municipalities of Arvigo, Braggio, Cauco and Selma merged to form the new municipality of Calanca.

Grisons Canton of Switzerland

{{Infobox settlement | name = Grisons

The terroir varies from acid soil in the northern part to limestone in the southern part.

<i>Terroir</i> environmental factors that affect a crops phenotype

Terroir is the set of all environmental factors that affect a crop's phenotype, including unique environment contexts, farming practices and a crop's specific growth habitat. Collectively, these contextual characteristics are said to have a character; terroir also refers to this character.

The top quality wines of the region have the appellation del Ticino DOC or ticinese DOC, sometimes linked with a VITI label, and the wines in the medium category use della Svizzera Italiana or nostrano.

An appellation is a legally defined and protected geographical indication used to identify where the grapes for a wine were grown; other types of food often have appellations as well. Restrictions other than geographical boundaries, such as what grapes may be grown, maximum grape yields, alcohol level, and other quality factors, may also apply before an appellation name may legally appear on a wine bottle label. The rules that govern appellations are dependent on the country in which the wine was produced.


Until 1906

The first traces of grapes in Ticino are some pollens in sediments, starting from the neolithic. Notable diffusion of grapes by humans probably dates from the late Bronze Age to the entire Iron Age, and the grapes were probably located near the lakes. [1] At the beginning of the Roman era there was already substantial cultivation of grapes, and production of wine probably started in this period, as shown in a sculpture on a Roman tomb found in Stabio.

Grape spherical berry from vines of Vitis spp.

A grape is a fruit, botanically a berry, of the deciduous woody vines of the flowering plant genus Vitis.

Pollen The grains containing the male gametes of seed plants

Pollen is a fine to coarse powdery substance comprising pollen grains which are male microgametophytes of seed plants, which produce male gametes. Pollen grains have a hard coat made of sporopollenin that protects the gametophytes during the process of their movement from the stamens to the pistil of flowering plants, or from the male cone to the female cone of coniferous plants. If pollen lands on a compatible pistil or female cone, it germinates, producing a pollen tube that transfers the sperm to the ovule containing the female gametophyte. Individual pollen grains are small enough to require magnification to see detail. The study of pollen is called palynology and is highly useful in paleoecology, paleontology, archaeology, and forensics. Pollen in plants is used for transferring haploid male genetic material from the anther of a single flower to the stigma of another in cross-pollination. In a case of self-pollination, this process takes place from the anther of a flower to the stigma of the same flower.

The Neolithic, the final division of the Stone Age, began about 12,000 years ago when the first developments of farming appeared in the Epipalaeolithic Near East, and later in other parts of the world. The division lasted until the transitional period of the Chalcolithic from about 6,500 years ago, marked by the development of metallurgy, leading up to the Bronze Age and Iron Age. In Northern Europe, the Neolithic lasted until about 1700 BC, while in China it extended until 1200 BC. Other parts of the world remained broadly in the Neolithic stage of development until European contact.

Until the 18th century, grapes were grown as a secondary product in extensive vineyards, from which light wines were produced, using a form of sharecropping. The wine was produced in some local varieties, of which only Bondola survived. They were mainly red wines, but some were mixtures of red varieties with some white varieties.

Vineyard Plantation of grape-bearing vines

A vineyard is a plantation of grape-bearing vines, grown mainly for winemaking, but also raisins, table grapes and non-alcoholic grape juice. The science, practice and study of vineyard production is known as viticulture.

Sharecropping form of agriculture in which a landowner allows a tenant to use the land in return for a share of the crops produced on their portion of land

Sharecropping is a form of agriculture in which a landowner allows a tenant to use the land in return for a share of the crops produced on their portion of land. Sharecropping has a long history and there are a wide range of different situations and types of agreements that have used a form of the system. Some are governed by tradition, and others by law. Legal contract systems such as the Italian mezzadria, the French métayage, the Spanish mediero, the Slavic połowcy,издoльщина or the Islamic system of muqasat, occur widely.

Bondola is a wine grape variety grown in the northern part of Ticino, Switzerland. It is mainly used in traditional wines, mainly by small or family wineries, and thus not very widespread in shops and restaurants.

The 20th century: the Merlot era

Because of new grapes diseases (e.g. phylloxera), the canton government decided to give a new direction to the wine industry: they instituted the cattedra itinerante (moving chair) to teach modern viticulture and winemaking methods, and to substitute new high-value grapes for the local grapes. After a few years of studies and selections, in 1906 the canton decided to seed and recommended Merlot as the main variety of grapes for the canton.

Another change was the operation of the railway of Gotthardbahn, which increased the commerce between Italy and the Swiss-German (and also German) market. This commerce has created new wineries, which mainly started with bottling of Italian wines, but then switched the focus to production of local wines.

In the Sopraceneri region of northern Ticino, the local variety Bondola still survives in some vineyards and is used to produce some wine.

Late 20th and 21st centuries

In the late 20th century, the wineries looked for quality wines, and because of new world wines, the demand of Merlot wine increased. Thus a golden era of wines of Ticino began. Unfortunately, in the first years of the 2000s there was overproduction, so now the TicinoWine (association of wineries in Ticino) tries to find and target new markets for the local wine.

Appellation and classification

In Ticino the grapes and wines are classified in three categories:

First category: Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC)

These are the best wines and production is limited to 1.0 kg/m2 for red grapes and 1.2 kg/m2 for white grapes. The appellation is Denominazione di Origine Controllata, normally Ticino DOC or Ticinese DOC and eventually other geographic denominations.

The wine can be made with Merlot, Bondola, Pinot noir, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carminoir, Gamaret, Garanoir, Diolinoir and Ancellotta for red grapes; and Chasselas, Chardonnay, Doral, Semillon, Sauvignon blanc, Pinot gris, Pinot blanc, Kerner and Riesling x Sylvaner for white grapes.

Second category: vino da tavola o nostrano

They have the denomination Vino da tavola bianco/rosso or nostrano svizzero or della svizzera italiana.

Third category

The third denomination is simply Vino rosso or Vino bianco, without an explicit geographic denomination (other than Swiss or of Switzerland), with year and grape variety.


The VITI label was introduced before the appellation, to distinguish the better wines. Now only wines of first category (DOC) are allowed to use the VITI label, but it is not widely used on top quality wines.

Geography and terroir

Grapes are seeded in all districts of Ticino. The soil varies from acid soil in the northern part to limestone in the southern part, with some local geographical variation because of moraines, alluvium, etc. The region is very wet, but with few rainy days and many sunny days, so normally the vineyards are grassy, which limits erosion.


Wine from Brusio in Val Poschiavo (another Italian-speaking part of the Grisons, distant to Moesano) is generally considered to belong to the Italian wine region of Valtellina.

See also

Related Research Articles

Pinot noir Wine-making grape

Pinot noir is a red wine grape variety of the species Vitis vinifera. The name may also refer to wines created predominantly from pinot noir grapes. The name is derived from the French words for pine and black. The word pine alludes to the grape variety having tightly clustered, pine cone-shaped bunches of fruit.

Sangiovese Wine making grape

Sangiovese is a red Italian wine grape variety that derives its name from the Latin sanguis Jovis, "the blood of Jupiter". Though it is the grape of most of central Italy from Romagna down to Lazio, Campania and Sicily, outside Italy it is most famous as the only component of Brunello di Montalcino and Rosso di Montalcino and the main component of the blends Chianti, Carmignano, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Morellino di Scansano, although it can also be used to make varietal wines such as Sangiovese di Romagna and the modern "Super Tuscan" wines like Tignanello.

Washington wine

Washington wine is wine produced from grape varieties grown in the U.S. state of Washington. Washington ranks second in the United States in the production of wine. By 2017, the state had over 55,000 acres (220 km2) of vineyards, a harvest of 229,000 short tons (208,000 t) of grapes, and exports going to over 40 countries around the world from the 940+ wineries located in the state. While there are some viticultural activities in the cooler, wetter western half of the state, the majority (99.9%) of wine grape production takes place in the shrub-steppe eastern half. The rain shadow of the Cascade Range leaves the Columbia River Basin with around 8 inches (200 mm) of annual rain fall, making irrigation and water rights of paramount interest to the Washington wine industry. Viticulture in the state is also influenced by long sunlight hours and consistent temperatures.

The state of Oregon in the United States has established an international reputation for its production of wine, ranking fourth in the country behind California, Washington, and New York. Oregon has several different growing regions within the state's borders that are well-suited to the cultivation of grapes; additional regions straddle the border between Oregon and the states of Washington and Idaho. Wine making dates back to pioneer times in the 1840s, with commercial production beginning in the 1960s.

Ontario wine

Ontario wine is Canadian wine produced in the province of Ontario that is certified by VQA Ontario. Wines made from 100% Ontario grapes can qualify for classification under Ontario's appellation system, the Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA), and must be certified by the provincial wine authority to use the descriptor "Ontario wine" and other regulated labelling terms. VQA regulates production standards including grape varietals, wine-making techniques employed, and other requirements and ensures label integrity for consumers. This has raised some issues with certain wineries that do not meet the VQA standard or are not eligible because they use Ontario grown winter-hardy hybrid grapes that are not recognized by VQA despite lobbying attempts to update their list of acceptable grape varieties.

Friuli-Venezia Giulia wine wine

Friuli-Venezia Giulia wine is wine made in the northeastern Italian region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Once part of the Venetian Republic and with sections under the influence of the Austro-Hungarian Empire for some time, the wines of the region have noticeable Slavic and Germanic influences. There are 11 Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) and 3 Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia area. The region has 3 Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) designations Alto Livenza, delle Venezie and Venezia Giulia. Nearly 62% of the wine produced in the region falls under a DOC designation. The area is known predominantly for its white wines which are considered some of the best examples of Italian wine in that style. Along with the Veneto and Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, the Friuli-Venezia Giulia forms the Tre Venezie wine region which ranks with Tuscany and Piedmont as Italy's world class wine regions.

Schioppettino is a red Italian wine grape grown predominantly in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of northeast Italy. The grape is believed to have originated between the comune of Prepotto and the Slovenian border where records of the Schiopettino wine being used in marriage ceremonies date to 1282. The grape was nearly lost to extinction following the phylloxera epidemic of the late 19th century when vineyard owners decided against replanting the variety in favor of French wine grapes like Cabernet franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot gris, Sauvignon blanc and Merlot. Some isolated plantings continued to exist until a 1978 European Union decree encouraged its planting in the province of Udine.

Slovenian wine Wikimedia list article

Slovenian wine is wine from Slovenia. Viticulture and winemaking has existed in this region since the time of the Celts and Illyrians tribes, long before the Romans would introduce winemaking to the lands of France, Spain and Germany.

The Colli Orientali del Friuli is a Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) located in the Italian wine region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. The region is located in the province of Udine and is sub-divided into three main sections; Ramandolo in the north, Cialla and Corno di Rosazzo. The climate and soil is very similar to the neighboring DOC of Collio Goriziano and the two region share many winemaking similarities as well. The main distinction between the Colli Orientali del Friuli and Collio Goriziano lie in the increased red and dessert wine production of the Colli Orientali del Friuli. The region also includes within its boundaries the three Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia Ramandolo and the two passito wine DOCGs of Colli Orientali del Friuli Picolit and Colli Orientali del Friuli Picolit-Cialla.

Henry of Pelham Winery

Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery is an Ontario winery that released their first vintage in 1988. The namesake of the winery, Henry (Smith) of Pelham was an early settler in Upper Canada’s Niagara Peninsula. His father Nicholas, the first settler, was Pennsylvania Dutch and a United Empire Loyalist who sided with the crown during the American Revolution of 1776.

Pelee Island Winery is a winery in Kingsville, Ontario, Canada. They have a 550-acre (2.2 km2) vineyard in the Pelee Island appellation.

Reif Estate Winery

Reif Estate Winery is located in Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario, Canada. Reif Estate is primarily known for playing an important in role pioneering the Ontario wine Industry, as well as planting some of the first Vitis vinifera vines in the Niagara region.

Cono Sur Vineyards & Winery is the third exporter of bottled wine in Chile.

Okanagan Valley (wine region) wine-producing area in British Columbia, Canada

The Okanagan Valley wine region, located within the region of the same name in the British Columbia Interior, is Canada's second-largest wine producing area. Along with the nearby Similkameen Valley, the approximately 8,619 acres of vineyards planted in the Okanagan account for more than 80% of all wine produced in British Columbia, and are second in economic importance for wine production to the Niagara Peninsula of Ontario. Some 182 licensed wineries existed from south to north in the valley in 2018, with many situated along the 135 km (84 mi)-long Okanagan Lake and its tributaries and downstream lakes, including Skaha Lake, Vaseux Lake, and Osoyoos Lake. The Okanagan has diverse terrain that features many different microclimates and vineyard soil types, contributing characteristics which are part of an Okanagan terroir.

Abruzzo (wine)

Abruzzo (Abruzzi) is an Italian wine region located in the mountainous central Italian region of Abruzzo along the Adriatic Sea. It is bordered by the Molise wine region to the south, Marche to the north and Lazio to the west. Abruzzo's rugged terrain, 65% of which is mountainous, help to isolate the region from the winemaking influence of the ancient Romans and Etruscans in Tuscany but the area has had a long history of wine production.

Hawk Haven Vineyard & Winery

Hawk Haven Vineyard & Winery is a winery in Rio Grande section of Lower Township in Cape May County, New Jersey. A family dairy and produce farm since 1940, the vineyard was first planted in 1997, beginning with Cabernet Sauvignon. The winery opened their doors to the public in 2009 with their first vintage in 2007, which consisted of the American Kestrel White, Red Table Wine, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Today, Hawk Haven has 16 acres of grapes under cultivation, and produces 5,000 cases of wine per year. The winery is named for the large number of hawks that migrate to the farm every year. They currently have sixteen different varietals and all of the grapes are harvested, pressed, fermented, aged, blended, and bottled on site.

Cabernet blanc is a white German and Swiss wine grape variety that is a crossing of the French wine grape Cabernet Sauvignon and an unknown hybrid grape variety. The grape was bred by Swiss grape breeder Valentin Blattner in 1991. Cabernet blanc has strong resistance to most grape disease including botrytis bunch rot, downy and powdery mildew and tends to produce loose clusters of small, thick-skinned grape berries which can hang on the vine late into the harvest season to produce dessert wines. Today the grape is found primarily in the Palatinate wine region of Germany with some experimental plantings in the Netherlands.

Jordanian wine

Jordanian wine is produced by two wineries, with an annual production of nearly a million bottles a year. Jordan has a long tradition of wine making, dating as far back as Nabatean times.

Friuli Grave DOC

Friuli Grave is a DOC wine region within Friuli-Venezia Giulia. The area has 16,000 acres (6500ha) of vineyards. The appelation is most known for white wines made from Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Friulano. Pinot Grigio is the most important wine of the appellation, but some red wines are also produced under the Friuli Grave DOC. Reds include from the Bordeaux wine varieties Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, along with local variety Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso. As in Graves wine, the name of the DOC comes from the gravelly soil.


  1. From palynology papers cited in: Ceschi, Ivo (2006). Il Bosco del Cantone Ticino. pp. 30–34. ISBN   88-8281-193-X.

Further reading