February 15, 2023
Steep, south-facing slopes that give way to snow-capped mountains, breathtaking views from a dizzying altitude… you’d be forgiven for not immediately pinpointing Switzerland as a must-visit wine spot.
Located in southwest Switzerland, Verbier is best known as a luxury skiing destination – but there’s much more on offer than its famous après-ski. Indulgent restaurants with incredible wine lists, plus dazzling vineyards, make it an under-the-radar destination for wine lovers.
At 1,500m altitude, the Swiss village of Verbier can be found in the northern part of the Val de Bagnes area, on the east side of the valley, facing the Grand Combin massif.
As with many ski villages, summers in Verbier are cool, and winters rarely rise above 1°C.
Verbier’s history stretches far beyond 1946, when its first ski lift was installed. The ruins of its castle denote an ancient history that is not even documented in local archives. Remains of a moat and crumbling churches provide a contrast against the picturesque wooden chalets and luxury boutiques.
Much of the frozen road from Geneva to Verbier is lined with vines. Intimate chalets can be glimpsed here and there – the perfect place for bon vivants to curl up with a glass of something decadent. It’s little wonder why London-based private members club 67 Pall Mall picked Verbier as its Swiss outpost.
67 Pall Mall Verbier first opened its doors in 2021, jetting Lucy Meza Ortega from its London club to be the new location’s head sommelier. Boasting 1,700 different wines, and 350 cuvées by the glass, the club has the biggest international wine list in Verbier. Non-members can also enjoy 58 wines by the glass in the downstairs wine bar.
While there’s certainly no shortage of mature classic wines to satisfy the distinguished palate (such as the 1989 Clos du Marquis St-Julien, which seduces the nose and reverberates on the palate), there is also a decided focus on Swiss wines. Try an incredibly fresh Syrah from the nearby region of Valais, or a sensational sparkling Chasselas. Ortega’s king-size wine list – and the expertise with which she navigates it for her guests – is truly impressive. But if you’d rather get high off your own supply, there’s a multitude of storage options for collectors to enjoy their own wines.
Rue de Médran 15, 1936 Verbier, Switzerland
Situated in the very heart of the Place Centrale, the long history of Hôtel de Verbier is tied up with the history of Verbier itself. Built in 1947, it is the oldest family-owned hotel still in operation and is an ideal place to base yourself during your visit. Rooms are decorated with natural textures of stone and wood, with views of the Grand Combin massif. Plus, a downstairs gym and spa will ensure your legs get some well-deserved rest after a day on the slopes.
The hotel’s La Nonna restaurant serves as the breakfast eatery as well as the evening restaurant, boasting a rather delicious wine list. As you’d expect from the name, La Nonna’s wine list champions a range of Italian wines, but also offers a variety of Swiss wines, too.
Place Centrale 2, 1936 Verbier, Switzerland
Although Verbier itself has few vines of its own, an hour and a half drive will get you to Féchy, a village nestled in the appellation of La Côte. As it may have become apparent, the Swiss are huge fans of their own wines. In fact, 98% of Swiss wine is drunk within the borders, meaning only 2% is exported elsewhere.
Located on the hills that sweep down towards Lake Geneva, Domaine La Colombe welcomes guests for tasting experiences in its rustic tasting room. Whether you’d like simply an introduction to Swiss wines, or you’d prefer to get nerdy about single-vineyard expressions, there’s something to suit every palate. My advice? Ask nicely for an extra generous pour of the Marchandes Grand Cru and make some room in your bag for it – you’re going to fall in love. Check online for opening times.
Route du Monastère 1, 1173 Féchy, Switzerland
A fantastic view reveals itself as you walk out of the piny forest and up towards the wooden chalet of Chez Dany, perched at the top of a mountain piste (accessed via a short ski, or a perilous walk). The sunset from Chez Dany is truly arresting, best enjoyed with garlicky snails, croûte jambon and a glass of Laurent-Perrier’s La Cuvée.
Hameau de Clambin 10, 1936 Verbier, Switzerland
As Verbier is a ski resort, there are many businesses that choose to open only during the ski season, which normally runs from around late November to late April.
However, as its summer cultural programme expands, Verbier is becoming a village that can be enjoyed year-round. As the snow melts, you’re met with a dazzling green landscape, dotted with colourful wildflowers.
For those looking to stop at wineries, keep in mind that harvest peaks in October, so an impromptu visit may be more welcome earlier in the year. Additionally, many establishments are likely to be closed in the off-season, so make sure you check online before visiting.
Decanter article: Verbier for wine lovers
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