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Speaking about influences on her career in the wine industry, wine importer Laine Boswell points to the two women who had the strongest effect: a great aunt who lived in Paris and a classmate who hired Boswell to work for her family’s business after graduation.


Despite successful corporate jobs in Paris, and no formal winemaking experience, Stéphanie and Olivier Ramé decided to change their lives by taking the reins of the family wine estate in the northwest area of the Languedoc when Stéphanie’s father in law announced an intention to sell.

On a recent visit to the Valais, a region in southwest Switzerland known for both the highest mountain peaks and most vineyards in the country, I attended a small wine festival in the German-speaking village of Saas-Balen. 


The Swiss like to poke fun at themselves. “You know what we say about the people from Valais? They’re ‘un peu chaud,’ a bit hot-headed,” is the sort of thing you might hear over a glass of Chasselas.


Avalanche 2019 Fendant (Valais)

This wine is straw colored, with aromas of orange blossom, jasmine, lemon-lime zest and roasted yellow pepper, with whiffs of petrol and tomato leaf. 


Switzerland is famous for its chocolate and cheeses, but it may surprise many people to know that the country has a thriving wine industry as well. Sadly, most of us will never get to indulge in savoring a Swiss vintage because (thanks to its small production volume and thirsty citizens) less than 2% of the country’s wine is ever exported. That means that if you want to experience the bounty of one of Europe’s tastiest wine regions, you’ll pretty much have to go there yourself.

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