Viticultural area: Canton of Ticino

Associated viticultural areas Switzerland Switzerland Canton of Ticino Canton of Ticino
Canton of Ticino

The Canton of Ticino

Wine-growing in TicinoNot much is known about the Ticino wine-growing history. According to historians, around 1200 there were no important vineyards but mainly wine-growing associations. The first mentions come from 15th century parchments concerning the taxes that peasants had to pay if they consumed the wine they produced themselves. Other information comes from legislative decrees issued by the Canton authorities from 1803 to 1890. To fight plant diseases coming from overseas, the state set up the antiphylloxera service and the travelling agricultural information desk. Around 1905 testing began on varieties of Merlot. In 1960 a law of the Canton on vine-growing and wine-making covered all the provisions essential for the technical and financial protection of viticulture. In 1970, under pressure from some shrewd local producers and with the contribution of German Swiss oenophiles, Ticino was able to give the vine-growing and wine-making sector a strong boost.

Facts and figures
Total wine-growing area of the Canton of Ticino  (ha.)

1,037

Total wine-growing area on difficult terrain
(altitude, steep slopes, terracing) (ha.)

450

Area with slopes > 30% (ha.)

385

Area at an altitude > 500 m above sea level (ha.)

120

Area terraced (ha.)

450

Maximum altitude of the vineyards (m above sea level)

700

Area of vineyards on difficult terrain

Hilly areas and foothill belt of the Alps

(Data updated to 2006)

Subdivision of the area

Most of the producers, 75,8%, cultivate an area smaller than 0.2 ha, making up 25.4% of the area. 20.2% of the holdings are between 0.2 and 1 ha, for a further 30.8% of the total area. Wineries with more than 1 ha are 4% of the total and cover 43.8% of the area.

Wine-growing landscape

Apart from a few areas on the flat, in Ticino vines have always been grown on terraces. Their function is to protect the soil from erosion by the heavy rainfall typical of the prealpine zone. The Ticino vineyards are generally specialised and nearby can be found grotti, buildings adjoining natural grottoes used for storing wine, but today mostly converted into public meeting places.

Main vines

White grapes:

  • Chardonnay
  • Sauvignon bianco
  • Chasselas
  • Doral
  • Kerner
  • Muller Thurgau
  • Semillon
  • Pinot grigio
  • Pinot bianco
Black grapes:

  • Merlot 
  • Gamaret
  • Pinot nero
  • Bondola
  • Cabernet sauvignon
  • Cabernet franc
  • Carminoir
  • Diolinoir
  • Ancellotta