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Switzerland is composed by 26 cantons and 4 linguistic areas: the German one, the French one, the Italian and the Romanche. This creates a richness of various expressions, which are also reflected in traditions, lifestyles, eating and drinking manners. Its wine-producing geography is subdivided into six areas: the cantons of Valais, of Vaud and of Geneva, the three lakes' region (Western Switzerland), the German-speaking area (Eastern Switzerland), and the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino. Moreover, Switzerland's particular geographical situation, in between four wine-producing nations (France, Italy, Germany and Austria), offers an extreme diversity in the characters of its wines.
Swiss vineyards give a large choice of grape varieties, although they are still scarcely known abroad. The most typical white grape variety is Chasselas, whose extreme sensitivity to both soil and situation is reflected in subtle differences in taste. Among the red grape varieties, the most widespread is Pinot Noir which can take very different characters depending on the region from where it comes and the type of vinification it has undergone.
Vineyards have been cultivated in Switzerland since the Roman era. Even though certain traces can be found of a more ancient origin, many native Swiss vines have Latin names. Christianity and the needs of religious services ensured the cultivation of the vineyards throughout the Middle Age and long after it. However, wine would not be used in masses only and, despite its highs and lows, the wine-production in Switzerland lasted and developed to our days. Swiss products can now be seen abroad as cultural ambassadors of a country whose winegrowers completely dedicate themselves to producing the very best.