46°13'45.48" N


7°27'34.92" E




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about this region

The Valais wine region is located in the southern area of Switzerland, bordered by the Ticino , Vaud and German Switzerland wine regions. It is the largest wine-producing area in the country, accounting for 33% of Swiss wine production, making it the most relevant region in terms of output. The region boasts one AOC (AOC Valais) and ten AOC Grand Crus:  AOC Visperterminen Grand Cru, AOC Saillon Grand Cru, AOC Leytron Grand Cru, AOC Chamoson Grand Cru, AOC Vétroz Grand Cru, AOC Conthey Grand Cru, AOC Ville de Sion Grand Cru, AOC Saint-Léonard Grand Cru, AOC Sierre Grand Cru, and AOC Salquenen Grand Cru.

Main Grape Varieties

Valais is renowned for its diverse grape varieties, with Pinot Noir, Gamay, Chasselas, Silvaner, and Petite Arvine being the most prominent. About 59% of the vineyard surface in Valais is dedicated to red grape varieties, with Pinot Noir being the dominant grape.


The climate in Valais is particularly favorable for viticulture, characterized by its sunny and dry conditions. The region enjoys around 2,500 hours of sunshine annually, making it one of the sunniest in Switzerland. Additionally, it is the driest wine-producing area in the country, with an average annual rainfall of approximately 650 millimeters. The Foehn wind, a warm and dry wind, plays a significant role in grape maturation, helping to keep the vineyards dry and warm, which is optimal for vine growth and fruit ripening​​​​​​.


The Valais wine region features a diverse range of soils, resulting from various geological processes, including glacial movements and alluvial deposits from the Rhône River and the Alps. The most common soils within the region are alluvial Soils, calcareous soils, glacial moraine soils, sandy soils and loess soils.

The Valais wine region stands out for its favorable climate and diverse soils, making it an ideal location for viticulture. With its significant contribution to Swiss wine production and a rich variety of grape types, Valais remains a key player in Switzerland's wine industry.


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Vineyard Hectares




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Landscape Characteristics of the Valais Wine Region

The Valais wine region, located in Switzerland, is renowned for its dramatic and diverse landscape. Stretching over 100 kilometers along the Rhône River valley, the vineyards of Valais are some of the most picturesque and distinctive in the world.

Terraced Vineyards

One of the most striking features of the Valais landscape is its terraced vineyards. These terraces, often steep and carved into the mountainsides, allow for optimal sun exposure and drainage, crucial for viticulture in this alpine region. The terraces are supported by over 3,000 kilometers of dry-stone walls, which not only provide stability but also contribute to the unique aesthetic of the region​​​​.

Alpine Peaks and Valleys

Valais is characterized by its impressive alpine scenery, with vineyards situated between 270 and 1,100 meters above sea level. The region is framed by some of the highest peaks in the Alps, creating a breathtaking backdrop for the vineyards. This high-altitude setting provides unique growing conditions and contributes to the distinctiveness of the wines produced here​​​​.

Rhône River and Lateral Valleys

The Rhône River plays a central role in the Valais landscape, with vineyards extending along its course. The river's influence helps moderate temperatures and provides necessary moisture, although the region remains one of the driest in Switzerland. Additionally, the vineyards extend into lateral valleys off the main Rhône valley, such as those around Visperterminen, which boasts some of the highest vineyards in Europe​​​​.

Cultural and Historical Features

The Valais region is also rich in cultural and historical landmarks. The area is dotted with ancient villages, castles, and churches, many of which have connections to the region’s long history of viticulture. Traditional practices, such as the construction and maintenance of the terraced vineyards, reflect a deep-rooted winemaking heritage that continues to influence the landscape today​​​​.

The Valais wine region's landscape is a harmonious blend of natural beauty and human ingenuity. The terraced vineyards, towering alpine peaks, and the flowing Rhône River create a unique environment that not only supports high-quality viticulture but also offers stunning vistas. This combination of factors makes Valais a remarkable and distinctive wine-producing region in Switzerland​​​​.

The Valais wine region boasts a unique climate that plays a key role in its reputation as the country's largest wine-producing area. Known for its sunny and dry conditions, the climate in Valais is very conducive for viticulture. This region's distinctive climatic features, including high levels of sunshine, low rainfall, and the influence of the Foehn wind, create an ideal environment for the cultivation of a wide variety of grape species. The combination of these climatic factors ensures the production of high-quality wines, making Valais a prominent and celebrated wine-producing region in Switzerland.

Sunshine and Dryness

The Valais wine region benefits from around 2,500 hours of sunshine annually, making it one of the sunniest regions in Switzerland. This abundance of sunlight is crucial for the ripening of grapes, ensuring they achieve the optimal level of maturity necessary for winemaking. In addition to its sunny conditions, Valais is the driest wine-producing area in Switzerland, receiving approximately 650 millimeters of rainfall per year. The low rainfall is partly due to the protective barrier formed by the surrounding Alps, which shield the vineyards from excessive moisture and create a semi-arid climate that is highly favorable for grape cultivation​​​​.

The Foehn Wind

A significant climatic feature of the Valais region is the Foehn wind, a warm and dry wind that has a profound impact on viticulture. The Foehn wind helps to maintain dry conditions in the vineyards, reducing the risk of fungal diseases and promoting the ripening of grapes. This wind can also accelerate the maturation process, contributing to the production of high-quality wines. The presence of the Foehn wind ensures that the vineyards remain dry and warm, creating optimal conditions for viticulture​​​​.

Temperature Variations

The Valais region experiences significant temperature variations between day and night, which are beneficial for grape growing. These fluctuations help maintain the acidity of the grapes while allowing sugars to develop, resulting in well-structured and balanced wines. Cool nights are particularly important for preserving the natural acidity of the grapes, while warm days enhance the sugar content and overall ripeness. This balance between acidity and sugar is essential for producing high-quality wines​​​​.

The unique combination of high sunshine hours, low rainfall, and the influence of the Foehn wind creates an exceptional microclimate in the Valais region. These conditions are ideal for cultivating a wide variety of grape species, such as Pinot Noir, Gamay, Chasselas, Silvaner and Petite Arvine

The Valais wine region is known for its diverse and complex soils, which play a key role in the quality and character of its wines. The region's soils result from different geological processes, such as glacial movements or alluvial deposits, creating a rich tapestry that supports the growth of a wide range of grapes. 

Alluvial Soils: Alluvial soils in the Valais region are primarily found in the valley floors, formed by sediment deposits from the Rhône River. These soils are typically fertile and deep, with a mix of silt, sand, and clay. The richness of alluvial soils provides an excellent environment for vigorous vine growth, supporting varieties that benefit from more nutrients. However, these soils require careful water management to prevent excessive vigor and maintain grape quality​​​​.

Calcareous Soils: Calcareous soils, rich in calcium carbonate, are prevalent on the slopes of the Valais region. These soils are known for their excellent drainage properties, which help prevent waterlogging and promote deep root growth. Calcareous soils also reflect sunlight, aiding in the ripening process of grapes. Vines planted in these soils typically produce wines with high acidity and strong minerality, characteristics highly prized in both white and red wines​​​​.

Glacial Moraine: Glacial moraine soils, resulting from the retreat of glaciers, are composed of a mix of rocks, gravel, and finer particles. These soils are found at higher altitudes and are well-drained, providing a challenging yet rewarding environment for grapevines. The rocky nature of glacial moraine soils encourages vines to develop deep root systems, which can enhance the concentration and complexity of the wines produced. These soils are particularly suited to grape varieties that thrive in less fertile, well-drained conditions​​​​.

Sandy Soils: Sandy soils in the Valais region are less common but can be found in certain areas. These soils offer excellent drainage and are low in fertility, which helps to control vine vigor and encourage the production of smaller, more concentrated berries. Wines produced from vines grown in sandy soils often exhibit finesse and aromatic complexity, benefiting from the stress induced by the less fertile growing conditions​​​​.

Loess Soils: Loess soils, composed of fine, wind-blown silt, are known for their fertility and water-holding capacity. These soils can support vigorous vine growth if not managed properly. However, when carefully controlled, loess soils contribute to the production of balanced wines with good structure and complexity. The even texture and nutrient availability of loess make it suitable for a range of grape varieties, contributing to the diversity of wines from the Valais region​​​​.


Most Planted Grapes of the Valais Wine Region

The Valais wine region is renowned for its diverse range of grape varieties and exceptional wine production. The region's unique microclimate, characterized by high sunshine hours, low annual rainfall, and well-drained soils, provides ideal conditions to cultivate grapes like Pinot Noir, Gamay, Chasselas, Silvaner and Petite Arvine.

Most Common Red Grapes

Pinot Noir: Pinot Noir is one of the most widely planted red grape varieties in Valais. Pinot Noir thrives in the region's well-drained, calcareous soils and benefits from the area's significant temperature variations between day and night, which help to enhance grape quality. The grape's early budding makes it susceptible to spring frosts, so it requires careful site selection to mitigate this risk. Pinot Noir also prefers cooler climates, making the higher altitudes of Valais, with their moderate temperatures and ample sunshine, ideal for its cultivation.

Gamay: Gamay is another prevalent red grape variety in Valais, known for its vigorous growth and productivity. This variety thrives in the region's stony, well-drained soils, which help control its natural vigor. Gamay benefits from the warm, sunny days and cool nights characteristic of the Valais microclimate, which contribute to its balanced growth cycle. It is also relatively resistant to diseases, making it well-suited to the region's viticultural conditions.

Most Common White Grapes

Chasselas: Chasselas, also known as Fendant in Valais, is the most common white grape variety in the region. It thrives in well-drained, mineral-rich soils, which are abundant in Valais. This grape variety requires ample sunlight and benefits from the region's high sunshine hours, while the cool alpine nights help to maintain its acidity levels. Chasselas is particularly suited to the dry conditions of Valais, as it has moderate water needs and can tolerate some drought.

Silvaner: Silvaner is a versatile white grape that adapts well to various soil types, though it prefers deep, fertile soils with good drainage. In Valais, Silvaner benefits from the region's sunny and dry climate, which helps to reduce the risk of fungal diseases. This grape variety requires a balanced climate with sufficient warmth during the growing season, making the moderate temperatures of Valais ideal for its cultivation. Additionally, the altitude helps to preserve its acidity and freshness.

Petite Arvine: Petite Arvine is a high-quality white grape variety indigenous to Valais. It thrives in well-exposed, sunny locations and benefits from the region's dry climate. Petite Arvine prefers well-drained, stony soils that reflect heat and contribute to the ripening process. This grape variety is sensitive to wind and requires sheltered sites to protect it from strong alpine winds. The cool nights in Valais are essential for maintaining its acidity and balance, making the region's microclimate perfect for its cultivation.

Most Common Wines of the Valais Wine Region

The Valais wine region is celebrated for its high-quality wines that benefit from the unique alpine climate of this area. This region, characterized by a great amount of sunshine, low annual rainfall, and a diverse soil composition, produces some of Switzerland's most renowned wines.

Most Common Red Wines

Pinot Noir: Pinot Noir from Valais is known for its elegance and complexity. Pinot Noir typically exhibits aromas of red fruits such as cherry, raspberry, and strawberry, often complemented by floral notes of violet. On the palate, Valais Pinot Noir is smooth and silky, with flavors of red currant, plum, and hints of earthiness or minerality. The cool alpine climate helps to maintain the grape's natural acidity, resulting in a well-balanced wine with a long, refined finish.

Gamay: Gamay from Valais is vibrant and fruity, offering an expressive bouquet of red and black berries, including strawberry, raspberry, and blackberry. These wines are generally fresh and lively, with additional notes of pepper and spices adding complexity. On the palate, Gamay wines are typically light to medium-bodied, with a juicy, approachable texture and a refreshing acidity. The finish is often bright and slightly peppery, making it a versatile wine for various pairings.

Most Common White Wines

Chasselas: Chasselas, also known as Vendant, is a delicate and versatile white wine. It presents subtle aromas of white flowers, green apple, and citrus, with occasional hints of honey and nuts. The flavor profile of Chasselas is light and refreshing, featuring notes of pear, melon, and a touch of minerality that reflects the stony soils of the region. This wine is typically dry, with a smooth and soft texture, making it an excellent companion for a variety of dishes, especially Swiss cheese fondue.

Silvaner: Silvaner from Valais is appreciated for its aromatic richness and balance. These white wines often display aromas of green apple, pear, and quince, with floral undertones of elderflower. On the palate, Silvaner wines are crisp and clean, with flavors of citrus fruits, green herbs, and a distinctive minerality. The  bright acidity and medium body of these white wines makes them a refreshing option, perfect for pairing with light appetizers, salads, and seafood.

Petite Arvine: Petite Arvine is a standout white wine from Valais, known for its unique and intense character. The aromatic profile includes notes of grapefruit, rhubarb, and exotic fruits such as pineapple and passion fruit. On the palate, Petite Arvine offers a vibrant acidity balanced by a rich, full-bodied texture. Flavors of citrus zest, green apple, and a touch of salinity create a complex and memorable tasting experience. This wine is often enjoyed as an aperitif or paired with rich, flavorful dishes like seafood and Asian cuisine.


270-1100 m


50-65 mm


The most common soils of Valais are alluvial, calcareous, glacial moraine, sandy and loess soils.

top varietal

Pinot Noir, Gamay, Chasselas, Silvaner, Petite Arvine

History of wine

History of Wine Production in Valais

The Valais wine region, located in Switzerland, boasts a rich and storied history of viticulture. This region, the largest wine-producing area in Switzerland, is renowned for its diverse grape varieties and exceptional wines. The history of viticulture in Valais dates back to ancient times and has evolved significantly over the centuries, influenced by various cultural and climatic factors.

Ancient and Medieval Periods

Viticulture in Valais can trace its origins back to before the Roman era, with evidence of grape cultivation as early as 800 BC. The Romans played a significant role in the development of viticulture in the region, introducing advanced winemaking techniques and expanding the vineyard areas. By the 4th century AD, as Christianity spread, monasteries became central to the cultivation and production of wine. These religious institutions preserved viticultural knowledge and contributed to the growth of vineyards throughout the Middle Ages​​​​.

Modern Times (1500-1850)

During the early modern period, viticulture in Valais continued to develop despite challenges such as the plague and climate cooling, which forced many farmers to emigrate. By the 16th century, vineyards were well-established, and local wine began to gain recognition. However, it was not until the 19th century that significant changes occurred. The introduction of new grape varieties and the start of commercial wine trading in 1850 marked the beginning of a new era for Valais viticulture​​​​.

Contemporary Period (1850-Present)

The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw considerable advancements in viticulture in Valais. The restructuring of vineyards in 1918 and the founding of the Provins cooperative in 1930 were pivotal in modernizing wine production. However, the wine industry faced a crisis in 1982, leading to a shift towards higher quality and more regulated production practices. The introduction of the AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée) system in 1991 further enhanced the reputation and quality of Valais wines. Today, the region is recognized for its commitment to producing high-quality wines, with a focus on both traditional and innovative viticultural practices​​​​​​.


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