Located in the south of Switzerland, the canton of Valais takes the form of a green oasis where tradition, heritage and nature drive the spirit of a region known for the quality of its wines. This canton tends to fascinate through the richness of its lands, enjoying an invaluable historical heritage that is truly an intersection between Celtic, Roman, Germanic and French influence.
The history of Valais begins during prehistoric times, nearly 4000 BCE, the first time man settled in the canton. However, it was really from 4th century BCE with the settlement of the Celtic people that the borders and villages of Valais began to be shaped. Barely 3 centuries later, the Romans defeated the Celts, subsequently leading to real economic and cultural development in the region. Over the following centuries, in turn, the power of the Roman Empire weakened, giving way to Germanic and French influence.
This fragmentation in Valais due to different linguistic and cultural dominations explains the diversity of dialects present in this canton today. Nevertheless, a common heritage emerges from the journey through the ages: that of vine cultivation, which began under the Roman occupation and never ceased to fascinate each generation of people living on these lands.
Today, the Valais vineyard stretches out through mountainous landscapes. There, the appellations Fully, Saxon, Saillon, Chamoson, Ardon, Vétroz, Conthey, Savièse, Sion, Grimisuat, Ayent, Lens, Miège, Venthône, the Coteaux de Sierre, Salquenen and Varonne benefit from a perfect climate and varied soils.
Indeed, the continental climate is strongly influenced by the Pennine Alps, which offer hot and dry summers alongside cold winters often marked by snow. In autumn, a hot down-slope wind, otherwise known as Foehn, allows the late-ripening grape varieties to perfectly ripen.
As for the soil, it has a low level of limestone, gneiss and granite in Lower Valais, while, when going up along the Rhône, a real limestone influence can be found, as well as an area shaped by schist and mica. The soil is stony in Upper Valais, whilst on the banks of the Rhône, the sediments from the river provide a great wealth of sandstone and marl.
Although Valais vineyards are amongst the smallest in the world, its diversity in grape varieties is absolutely remarkable. Nearly 60 different grape varieties, perfectly balanced between red and white grape varieties, are cultivated by enthusiasts with ancestral know-how. Nevertheless, it is important to note that Pinot Noir, Chasselas, Gamay and Silvaner occupy nearly all of the vineyard. Native varietals, such as Petite Arvine or Cornalin, meet with international varietals, such as Syrah or Chardonnay, on these fascinating lands.
This geological, climatic and cultural richness mixed with greatly precise vine cultivation which is often environmentally conscious, offers Valais wines which stand out as jewels of authenticity and rarity.