Ticino is Switzerland’s southern most canton (state). It is the only canton located entirely south of the Alps. Surrounded by Italy on two sides, it is also Italian speaking. Switzerland’s 5th largest canton, 2,800km2 (692,000 acres), it is also its 3rd largest wine producing region. Ifwe consider that it borders Italy’s provinces of Piedmont and Lombardy, it only makes sense that Ticino has lots of vineyards. The canton is split geographically in two parts by the Monte Ceneri pass. The northern, more mountainous part, called Sopraceneri, is formed by the two major Swiss valleys around Lake Maggiore: Ticino valley and Maggia valley. The southern part, called Sottoceneri, is the region around Lake Lugano. Both regions are home to many vineyards.
As a result of its more southerly position it is one of the warmest cantons in Switzerland and as such a provides an ideal environment to grow its most important varietal, Merlot. Most indigenous grapes were wiped out with the phylloxera disease. One indigenous varietal worth mentioning is the Bondola. Its Mediterranean climate allows for palm trees to grow.
The soil varies from acid soil in the northern part to limestone in the southern part, with some local geographical variation.