First let’s set the record straight: I’m not writing this article to make negative publicity for the wineries around lake Constance, Switzerland. That is far from the truth. Before we travelled there I sent emails to several people, none of whom replied. So when I was actually there I called several wineries. But without success. Then I decided to stick with the ones that showed opening times on their websites. Well, I went to four places, but not one was open. To be more accurate, one was, but they didn’t let me in because they had a group tasting there at the time. (I don’t think I would really have disturbed them that much.)

So I could only marvel at Mr Schmideiny’s winery from the outside. I have to admit, it is a stunning building. Organic in style, though most of it is concrete. Which is not surprising knowing the family history. Listed as the fourth richest person in Switzerland, Thomas Schmideiny (who stands at 140 on the Forbes list!) is in the cement manufacturing business. He took over the company from his father and they are now the biggest in their industry – in the world! And they take their winery seriously too. In an interview Schmideiny said that if he was to be born again he would like to be a winemaker. And this commitment is shown by the fact that, in addition to their Swiss estate, they own Cuvaison Estate in California, Chapel Hill in Australia, Finca Decero in Argentina as well as another Swiss estate, Höcklistein.

But back to the wonderful estate on the southern shores of Lake Constance which is surrounded by some five hectares of vines. They produce around 30 000 bottles a year but, as we didn’t meet anyone long enough to buy Schmidheiny wine, in the end we had to drive 60 km to get hold of our first bottle. But despite all that – or maybe precisely because of it – we would definitely like to return one day to meet someone who could tell us a little about the estate, who would come out into the superbly oriented, steep, terraced vineyards where we would be able to taste the whole range together. I really liked the wine we tasted and our chef friend cooked some super dishes to accompany it so you can read the recipes and wine tasting notes here.

We wish Mr Schmidheiny, his four children and his whole populous family good health and successful years in the wine business. Although, looking at how their wineries are doing, they do not necessarily need our good wishes. And that, in today’s world, is serious praise in itself!