By Lisa Rowlands

Historically, Räuschling was an abundant variety grown across much of Switzerland and Germany as well as in the Alsace region of France. However, since the Müller-Thurgau grape was introduced in the early twentieth century, plantings of Räuschling have fallen dramatically such that it is now considered an obscure variety with its fraction of the Swiss vine amounting to just twenty- six hectares.

Räuschling is a late maturing grape that is sensitive to rainfall and other adverse weather conditions. Its large, juicy berries are susceptible to bursting during maturation rendering the grape unsuitable for vinification, and thus its yield can be inconsistent. This goes some way to explaining the grape’s reduced share of the vine when compared with more reliable, robust varieties.

However, producers in the north-eastern cantons of Switzerland (most notably in Zürich which accounts for around four fifths of all plantings) remain fiercely proud of the wine they produce from this grape - which given its rarity is now considered something of a speciality. High quality, elegant wines that are wonderfully expressive of terroir, are the reward for the producers’ loyalty to the Räuschling variety and their committed to the challenges that its cultivation presents.