By Lisa Rowlands

Consistently ranked amongst the world’s top cities in quality of life surveys, Zürich - at the heart of the canton with which it shares a name, is a culturally vibrant metropolis synonymous with high quality, luxury and wealth. Situated on the northern shore of the Zürichsee, some thirty or so kilometres north of the high alpine peaks, the city and much of the surrounding canton enjoys a temperate climate with warm summers, cold winters and a clear distinction between seasons. However, such is the diversity of microclimate between various locations within the bounds of this appellation, a large number of grape varieties have found their perfect terroir here.

There are five distinct growing areas within the geographical confines of Zürich AOC, with producers from each sub-zone making wine under this label. Those closer to the lake and / or rivers experience the benefits of regulated temperatures with the reflective surface of the water providing additional heat to their vines, and the Föhn - a warm, dry wind from the south - also having effect by reducing the risk of frost for many of the plots. As is the case across much of geologically-diverse Switzerland, soil structure and composition varies considerably from vineyard to vineyard (limestone, shale and moraine are all represented), with even adjacent plots experiencing subtle differences in conditions.

Amongst the areas of particular note here are the appropriately named ‘Zurcher Weinland’ and the ‘Zürichsee’ - home of the rare Räuschling grape variety whose wines are a source of considerable pride amongst local producers.