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Heroic and vertiginous harvests

Our Valais alpine landscape is shaped by vineyards that seem closer to the sky than to the ground. From Vionnaz to Niedergestein, I have discovered exceptional vineards, among which is the "Clos de Couta" in Vex, which funny enough resembles a rice field.

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Switzerland's stunning vineyards yield wine only found here

By Lauren Mowery in USA Today Travel  / November 2015

Switzerland's vineyards hide in plain sight. It seems impossible that tourists driving around the compact country wouldn't notice the thousands upon thousands of green vines planted neatly across rows of stone terraces, yet Swiss winemakers report exactly that.

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Impossible wines from the Valais

On a press trip to the Valais, I became enthralled by stories of rare grape varieties, as related by José Vouillamoz. The trip followed the Digital Wine Communication Conference that took place in Montreux, Switzerland, November 2014. This article, based on this trip but not a  factual report, was first published in Dutch in Bouillon Magazine. The English translation was created for the Update of the Circle of Wine Writers, and edited by Wink Lorch.

Courtesy of Mariëlla Beukers at Wijnkronieken

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Walking through the vineyards of Saillon (Valais)

This walk takes you into the legend of Farinet, the famous counterfeiter who was buried in the village of Saillon. Called the Robin Hood of the Alps, he was figured as a benefactor of the poor and as a hero for the Valais folk. You will discover the wolrd’s smallest vineyard registered, located above the village, with only three vine stocks.

Location: 24 minutes by bus North-East from Martigny, start: Saillon, Place Farinet, end: Saillon, Place Farinet, distance: 8 kilometers, duration: 2 hours and 30 minutes (non stop), difference in levels: 419 meters upwards and downwards, difficulty: moderate

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Walking through the vineyards of Visperterminen (Valais)

The new route of the Heidaweg in Visperterminen is synonymous with exceptional hike through the highest vineyard in Switzerland! The trail is dotted with 40 panels providing detailed information on Visperterminen, its culture and its vineyards. The first part of the hike leads you to the old town of Visp in Bächji. You can take the opportunity to enjoy the breathtaking view over the vineyards. From Bächji you will reach Oberstalden. Do not hesitate to make a small detour to Unterstalden to visit the St-Jodern cellars and taste wine.

Location: 1 hour by train from Bern or 1 hour 30 minutes by train from Lausanne, start: Viège train station, end: Oberstalden, distance: 6 km, duration: 2 hours 20 minutes, difference in levels: 403 meters upwards and 49 meters downwards, difficulty: middle walk


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Walking in the Vétroz vineyards - The Amigne walk (Valais)

A loop that starts from the Place du Four in Vétroz. Along nearly 2.5 km, the path describes a loop on the hillside and is connected at its bottom to the Wine path. All along the route, nine strategically placed terminals can discover many themes related to the vineyard, but also soil, flora or fauna of the place.

Localisation: 15 minutes by bus from Sion or 45 minutes by bus from Martigny, starts : Vétroz, ends: Vétroz, distance : 3.5 km, duration: 1 hour (non stop), difference in levels: 144 meters upwards and downwards, difficulty: easy walk


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Walking along the bisse of Mont d'Orge (Valais)

The « Bisse » (typical irrigation canal in the Valais region) of Montorge, built in 1885, waters the vineyards of the south slopes of Montorge and flows into the Morge. Throughout your walk, you will cross many localities including the famous Domaine du Mont d'Or and beautiful old vineyards of Johannisberg.

Localisation: 10 minutes by bus from Sion, start : Pont-de-la-Morge, end: Pont-de-la-Morge, distance : 6.3 km, duration: 2 hours (non stop), difference in levels : 218 meters upwards and downwards, difficulty easy walk

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Walking through Martigny vineyards (Valais)

The path of the vineyards of Martigny invites you to a walk of a special kind. This culinary excursion starts from the city center to the castle of Bâtiaz and Plan-Cerisier hamlet.

Localisation: 5 minutes from Martigny city center, start: Pont de la Bâtiaz, ends: Pont de la Bâtiaz, duration: 1 hour 45 minutes, distance: 5.7 km, difference in levels: 206 meters upwards and 214 meters downwards, difficulty: easy walk

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Walking through Fully vineyards (Valais)

This walk offers an amazing view of the Rhone Valley, linking the chestnut trees area of  Branson and Vers l'Eglise. Several information panels ponctuate the way, they contain explanations on the evolution of the vine over the seasons as well as the singular points of the vineyards of Fully. During your hike, you can also discover the many booths (called “guérites”) scattered throughout the vineyard. These houses, used throughout the season for the cultivation of vines also provide shelter for breaks, especially at harvest time!

Localisation: 7 minutes from Martigny station, start: Branson, end: Fully, distance : 4.5 km, duration: 1 hour 30 minutes, difference in levels: 160 meters upwards and downwards, difficulty: easy walk

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Walking through the Chamoson vineyards (Valais)

Situated on alluvial cone, Chamoson is overlooked by the cliffs of Haut de Cry. Between vineyards, woods and streams, this walk will show you the sites and monuments of Sion. This path wants to pay tribute to nature and men who have shaped this wonderful country. Clean signaling pathway (yellow S on blue arrow) tag it and thematic panels supplement the information of the walker.

Localisation: 10 minutes East from Martigny or 10 minutes West from Sion, start: Saint-Pierre-de-Clages train station, ends: Saint-Pierre-de-Clages train station, duration: 1 hour 50 minutes (non stop), distance: 6.5 km, difference in levels: 174 meters upwards and downwards, difficulty: easy walk

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