Tag Archives: Switzerland


For wine lovers, late October into November is the best time to visit Lyon, France’s 3rd largest city which is centered among some wonderful wine regions. Wine regions which include Burgundy, Beaujolais, Jura, and the Rhône Valley.

One can take day trips from Lyon to all of these wine regions (and to nearby Switzerland, if so incined). And in Lyon, there are world-class restaurants featuring amazing wine lists as well as wine caves (shops) which hold vast troves of great French wines.

But these past 3 weeks (and the next two) have been special, even for Lyon. Three very large tastings of French (and only French) wines have been held. They are: Vinomedia Salon du Vin, Terre de Vins Grand Degustiation, and the Salon des Vins des Vignerons Indépendants. I attended the last two over the past couple of weeks. (A fourth, Sous les Pavés la Vinge is scheduled for Nov 16 & 17.)

The Terre de Vins Grand Degustiation was held at La Bourse, a grand old building on La Presquille near the center of the city. 90 tasting stations offering about 300 wines, ranging from single vignerons to the large négotiants such as Louis Latour and Georges DeBoeuff. Here are some photos from that event:




The Salon des Vins des Vignerons Indépendants was held in the huge Le Halle Tony Garnier in the 7eme Arrondissement of Lyon. This four-day event offered about 400 independent wine producers offering up to 8 wines each for tasting. Wines from every region in France are featured, the stands mixed together so that you have to walk past the Alsace and Sud-Ouest to get to the Burgogne or the Bordeaux. Regions have color-coded signs with the names of the winery and the sub-region.

The difference here is that all of the product is for sale right at the event. Lyonnaise folks show up in droves, often bringing the whole family to this event, and they stock up. We bought two cases on our first visit, and then I went back the next day with a cart and bought three more. Here are some photos of this event:

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At this time of year, there are wine festivals all over the countryside as well, in Beaujolais, Jura, the Rhône Valley, etc. Once the harvest is finished, it is time to move the previous year (or most recent vintage to be released) out to the public, and these events help that to happen. A great time to be in and around Lyon!


Copyright 2019 – Jim Lockard




The wine scene is Lucerne, Switzerland (LINK) is varied, diverse, and generally speaking, fairly expensive. We recently spent a few days visiting this postcard-worthy city and visited a number of restaurants and wine shops.

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Let’s begin with Opus (LINK), a wine-themed restaurant along the riverfront next to the huge Jesuit Church. We sat outdoors, where there were seats for a couple of hundred guests. The menu is Swiss and Italian with a fairly extensive wine list that is international in scope. We opted for a bottle of Swiss Rosé to go with our dinner selection, the antipasto bar, which had a nice selection of salads, meats, and vegetables. The wines here are priced for on and off-site consumption, and there were some good bargains on the list, like an Amarone for under 30 Swiss Francs (about par with the US dollar when we visited). Opus was very enjoyable and we sent some friends there on ensuing evenings.

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Another end of the spectrum is The Old Swiss House Restaurant (LINK), a revered tourist restaurant near the famous Lion Sculpture in Lucerne (LINK), just a couple of blocks off of the lake. Six of us tried to get a table one evening after visiting the sculpture and were told that they were full and referred to another very nice restaurant. So we made a reservation for the next night on the spot. So don’t go here for dinner without a reservation.

The building is historic and very picturesque, inside and out. The service is formal and competent. Eating here is like going back in time to a more formal era. There is a specials menu and a regular menu. Entrees run 40 to 55 Swiss Francs; appetizers from 14 to 25 Swiss francs – $$$$ level.

The wine list is deep, rich, and amazingly varied (and a bit disorganized). Along with the local wines of Switzerland, they have a wonderful selection of the finest French Burgundies and Bordeauxs (with about 15 Chateau Mouton-Rothchild First Growths on the list), plus some great Italians and even an Australian Penfold’s Grange (1996). These high-end wines are very reasonably priced, mostly at or below what I have seen them at retail, but still hundreds or thousands of Swiss francs per bottle. We opted for a Swiss Chardonnay that complimented my lobster over pasta dish perfectly – light, high in acidity, with notes of pear and grass on the nose, and almost no oak.

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Restaurant Lapin (LINK) is a French/Swiss place with excellent service and a warm atmosphere. It is family run (the same family that runs the small hotel of which the restaurant is a part). The wine list is Swiss and French, with some nice selections, but not very adventurous. We opted for an old friend, a 2010 La Haute-Smith Burgundy Red Blend (LINK). We visited the chateau in Pessac-Leognan (LINK) in 2013 and enjoyed their wines very much. This one did not disappoint – the Merlot/Cabernet blend was rich, lively, and laced with dark fruit. Very nice.

The Globus Department Store’s basement is a gourmet food and wine market that is simply amazing. The wine department has a very good selection of wines and spirits, with an emphasis on Swiss and Italian wines, but with selections from all over Europe. There were wines for tasting as well, and Dorianne and I tasted nice wines from Portugal and Spain, and bought a bottle of the excellent Spanish tinto from Ribero del Duoro for our upcoming Rhine River cruise.

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I am sure that we just scratched the surface of the wine scene in beautiful Lucerne during our three-night visit. As a wine lover, it is a good place to visit.


As I have noted before, Dorianne and I will soon be leaving for an extended period in Europe – mostly Spain and France, with some side trips to Portugal and/or Morocco on this leg, then back to the US for a bit to see our daughter graduate from Boston University, then back over to Switzerland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium (maybe) and Denmark. Here is a link to a NYTimes.com article about a couple who have retired and are using Airbnb.com – which we will be doing for most of our stays. Our trip will be more focused on wine, of course!

NYTimes Article  2013-05-21 11.49.03