Feb-2008 I reviewed an innovation project under the sixth framework program of the European Commission. Three days at the Research Institute of Martigny, CH.
It's a beautiful high-alpine region, so I decided to pack my cross country skis into the car and stayed at a nice small Swiss Lodge hotel in Champex-Lac.
The views into the highest part of the Alps are stunning, the cross country ski tracks go through the natural beauty and are well diversified for all risk levels, ...
As usual, when selecting a hotel, I went through the menus and wine lists of the restaurants. At the selected I found some outstanding entries of wines from the Valais region. But I knew, there are this rare wines from Visperterminen. The highest vineyards in Europe. So high that only a 300-days-sun-a-year microclimate makes it possible to grow wine. I find Chanton the top makers. Their rarities include Heida, Lafnetscha, Himbertscha, … whites of autochthonous grapes. They are not only rare, but outstanding.
I called the restaurant owner and asked, whether she could help me getting those Chanton specialities. "Let's see". At the first evening when I took place at the large window of the restaurant with the most stunning view ... "this is our special wine list for you", she said smiling. It contained all the Chanton rarities … Consequently, I sat there every evening of my stay …. and I packed a selection of the remaining bottles into my car for take away (to Austria).
This is Switzerland - they like to do business, serve clients (who care) and do it with understatement.
Here is a great blog post: Daniel Davies about Switzerland. It's a "foreign view" - he got to know the Swiss when working for Credit Suisse for five years. The sum of all my visits were less long (fortunately, quite a lot UnRisk related), but I agree.
In Switzerland law is changeable and it has a long direct democratic tradition to do that by relying on the wisdom of the crowds. But, Switzerland has also a long tradition of hospitality to original thinkers. To NN Taleb "long in history" means (most probably) "long in the future". An important sign that a political or socio-economic system belongs to the "Anifragile".
p.s. Shhh, now I can order Chanton's rarities online … and get info about more Swiss wine specialities from Chandra Kurt ….