Alpine grape glossary

This glossary offers a brief explanation of the vast majority of grape varieties in the Alpine arc. With thanks to Dr José Vouillamoz, Swiss grape geneticist and co-author of 'Wine Grapes’ (published by Allen Lane 2012).

Aligoté (white)
Aligoté is a natural cross between Pinot and Gouais Blanc, which appeared in the late 18th century in the Saone valley in Burgundy (F). It is therefore a full sibling of Gamay, Chardonnay, Melon and other lesser known varieties. Its name could derive from Gôt, an old synonym of Gouais Blanc, its genitor which was once widespread and is now almost extinct. An early grape that is prone to fungal disease, with varying yields depending on the terroir, Aligoté is grown mainly on the Côte d'Or and at Chablis in Burgundy, where it is also used for making kir. In Switzerland, it is mainly grown in Geneva, where it produces wines with a refreshing natural acidity.

Altesse (white)
An indigenous variety of Savoie, Altesse is closely related to Chasselas. The name derives from the reddish colour of its berries as it matures (‘roux / rousse’ meaning red). It produces fine varietal wines and is also commonly blended with Jacquère, Aligoté Gringet or Chardonnay. In the Seyssel appellation it is blended with Molette to produce sparkling wine and unblended as a still wine, either dry or off-dry. The Roussette de Savoie AOC was created in 1973 for still wines made from Altesse in four specific areas of the Savoie appellation.
Associated names: Roussette, Roussette de Seyssel

Amigne (white)
A native variety of the Valais region in Switzerland, Amigne was first recorded towards the end of the 17th century, between Sierre and Sion, before it became established at Vétroz, which has become its territory of choice (with 70 % of the Amigne variety grown in the world). Although it may be a grandchild of Savagnin Blanc (known as Heida or Païen in Valais) and Gouais Blanc, Amigne is an orphan variety. Its alleged Roman origins cannot be substantiated. Prone to coulure and millerandage, this chameleon variety can produce dry, mellow or sweet ("flétris") wines, whose sweetness is indicated in Vétroz with a label showing 1, 2 or 3 bees.

Arvine (white)
This flagship variety, native to Valais (Switzerland) is mentioned in records dating back to 1602 under the name Arvena, which could mean "upstart, new arrival". This etymology is explained by the fact that it is an orphan variety, as DNA testing has not found any relatives. Its alleged Roman origins cannot be substantiated. Often referred to as Petite Arvine, as opposed to Grosse Arvine which is probably one of its offsprings, Arvine is almost exclusively grown in Valais where it produces dry or sweet ("flétris") wines of international standard, with a citrus aroma and refreshing acidity. Traces of it can also be found in other Swiss cantons, as well as in the Aosta Valley and in France.
Associated name: Petite Arvine

Barbin (white)
See Roussanne

Bergeron (white)
See Roussanne

Blanc de Morgex (white)
See Prié

Blanc du Valdigne (white)
See Prié

Blauburgunder (red)
See Pinot Noir

Blauer Spätburgunder (red)
See Pinot Noir

Bondola (red)
Previously the most widely grown variety in Ticino where there are records of it dating back to 1785, Bondola was rapidly supplanted by Merlot which was introduced in 1906 after the phylloxera crisis. DNA tests have shown that Bondola and Briegler in German-speaking Switzerland are identical. A variety with rustic tannins and distinct acidity, it is now only grown in Ticino, particularly in Sopraceneri, where it produces wines that are fruity and crisp with an Alpine character.
Associated name: Briegler

Briegler (red)
See Bondola

Broblanc (red)
See Cornalin d'Aoste

Brugnola (red)
Grown in the Valtellina region of Italy as both a table grape and a wine grape, Brugnola is usually blended with Nebbiolo (called Chiavennasca in Valtellina) and with Rossola. Until quite recently Brugnola was considered the same as the Fortana variety cultivated in Emilia-Romagna. DNA profiling now shows that Brugnola is, in fact, related to Nebbiolo.

Cabernet Franc (red)
Although it is one of the original varieties of the great wines of Bordeaux, the ancestral origins of Cabernet Franc are in the Spanish Basque Country. From there it expanded into Gironde, then to the Loire region, where it has become one of the most commonly grown red grapes. DNA tests have revealed that it is the direct genitor of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Carmenère. In Switzerland, this mid-season variety, resistant to fungal disease, is grown in particular in French-speaking Switzerland and in Ticino, where it produces wine with an aroma of violets, high in tannins, with more or less herbaceous notes depending on the yields.

Cabernet Sauvignon (red)
A flagship variety of Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most commonly grown grapes in the world. The unexpected discovery of its heritage in 1997 was big news: it's a natural cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, which probably took place in Gironde before the 18th century. This makes it a half-sibling of Merlot and Carmenère. This variety prone to fungal disease is grown essentially for making Bordeaux blends (with Cabernet Franc and Merlot), adding notes of blackcurrants and blackberries.

Broblanc (red)
See Cornalin d'Aoste

Cargnola (red)
See Cornalin d'Aoste

Chardonnay (white)
A natural cross of Pinot and Gouais Blanc, Chardonnay probably originated in Saône-et-Loire, where it was recorded at the end of the 17th century. In fact, its ancestry means it is a full sibling of Gamay, Aligoté, Melon and other less well known varieties, so it's easy to understand how for a long time it was confused with Aligoté and Pinot Blanc. Its name comes from the village of Chardonnay near Mâcon (Burgundy). An early variety which is prone to disease, it needs a well-exposed chalky soil that is not too dry. It produces wines with highly variable aromas depending on the terroir and the winemaking process, from lime to vanilla butter. 
Associated name: Clävner

Chasselas (white)
An icon for French-speaking Switzerland, Chasselas is a very old variety originating in the Lemanic Arc (north of Lake Geneva), where it was already known under the name of Fendant in the 17th century, in reference to its grapes that split easily in your fingers. The canton of Vaud gradually stopped using this variety's name in favour of appellations based on villages, so that since 1966 the name Fendant has been protected for the exclusive use of the Valais region, where the variety was introduced in 1848. A wonderful expression of the terroirs where it is grown, Chasselas or Fendant is the most common white grape variety in Switzerland, mainly grown in the cantons of Vaud, Valais, Geneva and Neuchâtel. Early and delicate both on the vine and in the cellar, Chasselas gives subtle and elegant wines, to be savoured as an apéritif or with a meal. The variety is also planted in the Savoie region where it is the main grape on the south side of Lake Geneva.
Associated names: Fendant, Gutedel

Chiavennasca  (red)
See Nebbiolo

Clävner (white)
See Chardonnay

Clevner (red)
See Pinot Noir

Completer (white)
Completer is old variety from Graubünden (Switzerland) where there are records of it dating back to 1321 at Malans near Coire. This variety takes its name from completorium (known today as compline), the evening service of the Benedictine monks who were then authorised to drink a glass of it in silence. In Haut Valais, Completer gave rise to Lafnetscha, with which it is often confused. A late-ripening variety that enjoys the Alpine foehn wind, Completer produces rich, strong wines, whose considerable natural acidity gives it great potential for ageing. By the 1960s it had almost disappeared, and today a few rare Completer vineyards persist in Switzerland, mainly in Graubünden, but also in Zurich, and since very recently in Valais.

Corbeau (red)
See Douce Noire

Cornalin (red)
Traditionally known as Rouge du Pays, this old variety from the Valais was renamed Cornalin in 1972, borrowing the name from a variety in the Aosta Valley. This was clearly a premonition, as DNA tests revealed it was in fact a natural cross between two varieties from the Aosta Valley: Petit Rouge and Mayolet. Originally from Aosta, it was probably introduced into the Valais region a very long time ago via the Great St Bernard Pass, while it has disappeared from its valley of origin in Italy. On the brink of extinction in Valais, it was saved by a handful of enthusiasts in the 1970s, so successfully that it has now become the symbolic red wine grape of the Valais, where it is exclusively grown. Difficult to manage in the vineyards and producing variable yields, Cornalin delivers colourful, fruity and juicy wines with silky tannins and a pleasant bitterness.
Associated name: Rouge du Pays

Cornalin d'Aoste (red)
See Humagne Rouge

Diolinoir (red)
An artificial cross of Robin Noir and Pinot Noir, Diolinoir was created in 1970 at the Agroscope Research Centre in Pully (Switzerland) in order to intensify the colour of Pinot Noir. It takes its name from its ancestors, Robin Noir being known as Rouge de Diolly in Valais. Resistant to grey mould, it produces strong, full-bodied wines and is often used for blends.

Diolle (red)
Diolle is an old variety of Valais in Switzerland, recorded for the first time in 1654 around Conthey. Until 2007, Diolle was thought to have disappeared, until two surviving vines were discovered in a wall at Savièse. DNA tests indicate that it is an offspring of Rèze. This revived variety was planted by Didier Joris and José Vouillamoz in 2015.

Divico (red)
An artificial cross of Gamaret and Bronner, Divico was created in 1996 at the Agroscope Research Centre in Pully (Switzerland) to obtain a multi-resistant variety for an ecological approach to combating mildew, powdery mildew and grey mould. Named after an ancient Swiss chieftain, Divico allows a drastic reduction in the use of crop protection products. Maturing late like Gamaret, Divico produces wines that are rich in colour and tannins and can be used as a single variety or in blends. Available at wine nurseries from 2015.

Divona (white)
Born from the union of Bronner and Gamaret, the white Divona grape variety is the fruit of 20 years of patient and meticulous selection carried out by the Agroscope research institute. Divona has very good oenological potential and resistance to gray rot thanks to Gamaret. The Bronner grape variety strongly protects it against mildew and powdery mildew (diseases caused by fungi).IRAC 2060, codename of Divona, was selected from thousands of applicants based on criteria relating to both the vine and the wine: disease resistance, climate adaptation, production capacity and sugar content. This new grape variety shares the same parents as Divico – the red brother of Divona.

Dongine (white)
See Mondeuse Blanche

Douce Noire (red) 
Prior to the 20th century this late-ripening variety (meaning ‘sweet black’) was planted extensively in Savoie. Today there are only limited plantings remaining in the region. Beyond Savoie it was called Corbeau, which means crow and is a reference to the wine’s deep colour. The same grape has been identified as Charbono in California and Bonarda in Argentina where it is widely cultivated. 
Associated names: Corbeau, Plant Noir, Turca

Enantio (red)
This variety was given the name of Enantio (pronounced 'enanzio') in the 1980s, having previously been known as Lambrusco a Foglia Frastagliata. Ungrafted vines grow on pergolas mainly in Trentino. It makes deep red wines with soft tannins that are best drunk with rustic Trentino cuisine. 

Ermitage (white)
See Marsanne 

Etraire de l’Adui (red)
This vigorous variety spread to Savoie from the neighbouring region of Isère where it used to be widely planted. It is related to Persan.
Associated name: Étraire de la Duï

Étraire de la Duï (white)
See Etraire de l’Adui

Fendant (white)
See Chasselas

Fumin (red)
Fumin is a red grape native to the Aosta Valley in northern Italy. According to the latest DNA analyses, there is a direct genetic link with the Vuillermin variety. A grape with a rustic reputation, often used in blends.

Gamaret (red)
An artificial cross of Gamay and Reichensteiner, Gamaret was created in 1970 at the Agroscope Research Centre in Pully (Switzerland) to obtain a variety that was similar to Gamay, but more resistant and with a richer colour. First officially sold in 1990, it is a full-sibling of Garanoir and Mara. Named after its ancestors, Gamaret is an early grape and highly resistant to grey mould. Grown mainly in Switzerland, but authorised in Beaujolais since 2008, its wines are colourful, spicy, high in tannins and often used for blends.

Gamay (red)
A natural cross of Pinot and Gouais Blanc, Gamay probably originated in Burgundy where it was first recorded in 1395 (and also banned there several times in the 16th and 18th centuries). Its ancestry means it is a full-sibling of Chardonnay, Aligoté, Melon and other less well known varieties, so it's easy to understand how for a long time it was confused with Pinot Noir, particularly in French-speaking Switzerland, where both were referred to as Dôle. Its name comes from the village of Gamay near Saint-Aubin in the Côte d'Or (Burgundy). An early variety which is prone to disease, its yield must be carefully managed on overly rich soils. In Switzerland, where an ancient biotype of it known as Plant Robert is found in Lavaux, it's an important variety which produces wines with notes of cherry and peony.

Gewürztraminer (white)
An aromatic mutation of Savagnin Rose, which itself is a colour mutation of Savagnin Blanc (Heida or Païen in Valais), Gewürztraminer takes its name from Gewürz, which means spice in German, and Traminer (Savagnin Blanc). Observed for the first time in 1827 in Rheingau, this mutation has multiplied and been propagated throughout the world. An early-ripening grape suited to cooler climates with a powerful aroma of rose petals and lychees.

Goldmuskateller (white)
See Moscato Giallo 

Grauburgunder (white)
See Pinot Gris

Gringet (white)
Gringet is a white grape variety, endemic to the Savoie vineyard. It is mainly grown in the Arve valley and more specifically in the Ayze vineyard (AOC). Only this appellation exploits this variety in an area which today represents only about 20 hectares.

Groppello Bianco (white)
See Nosiola

Groppello di Breganze (red)
See Pignola

Gros Rhin (white)
See Sylvaner

Gros Rodzo (red)
See Vien de Nus

Gros Rouge (red)
See Vien de Nus

Gros Vien (red)
See Vien de Nus 

Gros Vien de Nus (red)
See Vien de Nus 

Grosse Syrah (red)
See Mondeuse Noire

Grüner Veltliner (white)
Grüner Veltliner is a white wine variety from Austria particularly widespread in Lower Austria, especially in the regions of Vienna, Burgenland and Styria. Outside of this country, it is only little known but grows at altitude in the Valle Isarco of the Alto Adige and is also planted in some regions of the Czech Republic and Hungary, Germany and Slovakia. In 2007, DNA analysis confirmed that Grüner Veltliner was a natural cross between Savagnin (Traminer) and an obscure Austrian grape variety from the village of Sankt Georgen am Leithagebirge located near Eisenstadt in the Burgenland region in eastern Austria.

Gutedel (white)
See Chasselas 

Heida (white)
See Savagnin Blanc

Hermitage (white)
See Marsanne

Himbertscha (white)
An extremely rare variety of Haut Valais (Switzerland), Himbertscha is a natural offspring of Humagne Blanc, and a half-sibling of Lafnetscha, another curio from Haut Valais. Its name does not come from Himbeer (raspberry) but from the dialect phrase "im Bercla" meaning "in the arbour". It was saved from extinction in the 1970s by Josef-Marie Chanton, who is still the only producer in the world, with a tiny vineyard. Its wine is elegant and highly acidic, with strange musky notes.

Humagne Blanche (white)
Humagne Blanche was first recorded in Valais (Switzerland) in a parchment dated to 1313 alongside Rèze, making it one of the oldest varieties in Europe. DNA tests have shown that Lafnetscha and Himbertscha are offsprings from it, and that its ancestral origins may lie in the Atlantic Pyrénées. Its name could derive from the Greek hylomaneus, meaning blooming. Genetically, it has no connection with Humagne Rouge. A late-ripening and vigorous variety, Humagne Blanche was one of the most widespread varieties in Valais until the 19th century. Its wines are delicate and elegant, with notes of hazelnuts and hints of resin as it ages.

Humagne Rouge (red)
With no link to Humagne Blanche, this variety introduced to the Valais region of Switzerland in the late 19th century from the Aosta Valley was confused with Petit Rouge in the Aosta Valley. DNA testing in 1999 identified it as Cornalin d'Aoste (from which Cornalin in the Valais borrowed its name in 1972). It is the product of a natural cross which took place in the Aosta Valley between Rouge du Pays and an unknown variety. It produces characterful wines with a slightly wild side that delivers notes of dried vine leaves and violets.
Associated names: Broblanc, Cornalin d'Aoste

Jacquère (white)
Jacquère is a late-ripening white grape variety. In France, it is most common in Savoie and is used more marginally in Bugey and Dauphiné. It gives a fresh and light wine, to drink young. It is the traditional and almost exclusive variety of Apremont of Savoie.

Johannisberg (white)
See Sylvaner

Kerner (white)
An artificial cross of Schiava Grossa and Riesling created in 1929 at the Weinsberg Research Centre in Baden-Württemberg (D), Kerner was named after Dr Justinus Kerner, who wrote drinking songs. Productive and prone to powdery mildew, it has good resistance to cold. In Switzerland, these wines are like a less acidic version of Riesling.

Klävner (red)
See Pinot Noir

Lafnetscha (white)
With records of it dating back to 1627 in the Upper Valais (Switzerland), Lafnetscha comes from a natural cross between Humagne Blanche from Valais and Completer from Graubünden, which means it is a half-sibling of Himbertscha. The name may come from Laff-nit-scha, a dialect form of "laff es nicht schon" (meaning don't drink it too soon), in reference to its high acidity. Grown exclusively in the Upper Valais, this local rarity produces dry wines, with sustained acidity and notes of apple and elderberry.

Lagarino (red)
See Lagrein

Lagrein (red)
Lagrein is a black grape variety grown in the Alto Adige and Trentino regions of Italy. Genetic analyses have shown a relationship between Lagrein and Teroldego as well as Marzemino. It produces spicy wines with a hint of bitterness, few tannins and rustic.
Associated name: Lagarino

Malvoisie (white)
See Pinot Gris

Malvoisie Rouge d’Italie (red)
See Velteliner Rouge Précoce

Manzoni Bianco (white)
A crossing of Riesling and Pinot Blanc developed in the research centre in the Veneto region in the 1930s. It grows mainly in Veneto as well as Friuli. In the Trentino region the variety is used in blended dry wines labelled Trentino Bianco DOC. Some sparkling versions are also starting to appear.

Marsanne Blanche (white)
Originating in the Rhone valley (F), and named after a village near Montelimar in the Drôme region, Marsanne was introduced to Sion in the Valais region around 1845, where it was preserved under the name of Ermitage or Hermitage, in reference to the famous vineyard at Drôme. DNA tests suggest that Marsanne is a parent or an offspring of Roussanne. Ripening in mid-season, Marsanne is highly productive, with large bunches, but it is susceptible to fungal disease. In Switzerland, it is practically only grown in Valais, where it gives dry or sweet wines, with an aroma of raspberry liqueur, that can be stored for a long time.
Associated names: Ermitage, Hermitage

Marselan (red)
Marselan is a red grape variety from France, it is the result of crossbreeding between Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache Noir. It was created in 1961, near Marseillan by researchers from INRA (National Institute of Agricultural Research) and ENSAM (Arts et Métiers). It was introduced mainly in the vineyards of Languedoc, the Rhone Valley, in Spain as well as , in Switzerland, on the northern coast of California and in Israel.

Marzemino (red)
Planted mainly in the Trentino region of Italy, this variety can be traced back to the 16th century. The vigorous vines are usually trained on pergolas. It produces fruity still wines as well as sparkling and sweet wines. DNA profiling has confirmed that the Teroldego variety is one of its parents and that Lagrein is a sibling. Mozart even lauded the grape in Act 2 of his opera Don Giovanni.

Mayolet (red)
A rare indigenous variety of the Aosta Valley that has been rescued from extinction. It is usually blended with mainly Petit Rouge to produce Torrette. It is one of the parents with Petit Rouge of Cornalin (Rouge du Pays) in the Valais region of Switzerland.

Merlina (red)
See Teroldego

Merlot (red)
A variety from Gironde in France, Merlot is used for blends in the great wines of Bordeaux. Its name comes from the French word for blackbird, who particularly enjoy its berries. Its parents were discovered through DNA tests: it's a natural cross between Cabernet Franc and Magdeleine Noire des Charentes, an obscure old variety that has recently been threatened with extinction. Merlot is a half-sibling of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec (Cot) and Carmenère. In Switzerland, this variety which is easy to grow but prone to mildew was introduced to the canton of Vaud in the mid-19th century. However, its greatest success has been in Ticino, becoming the symbol of the canton after its introduction in 1906, following the phylloxera crisis.

Molette (white)
A small-berried Savoie variety that is in decline. It is used mainly to make sparkling wine primarily in the Seyssel appellation of Savoie where the better wines include Altesse in the blend.

Mondeuse (red)
See Mondeuse Noire

Mondeuse Blanche (white)
An old variety from Savoie, Mondeuse Blanche has long been wrongly thought to be a mutation of Mondeuse Noire, which is much more common. In fact, DNA tests have shown that the rare Mondeuse Blanche is the parent of Syrah through a cross with Dureza from Ardèche, and a parent or a progeny of Mondeuse Noire and Viognier. In Switzerland, there are only a few plots of this discreet, late-ripening variety, producing wines of a neutral flavour with high alcohol levels.
Associated name: Dongine

Mondeuse Noire (red)
An old variety from Savoie, Mondeuse Noire takes its name from Maldoux, in reference to its high natural acidity. DNA tests have revealed a parent-offspring link to Mondeuse Blanche, which means Mondeuse is related to Syrah, and explains why it is often called Grosse Syrah. In Switzerland, Mondeuse Noire used to be widespread before the 19th century around Lake Geneva and in the Valais region under the name of Gros Rouge. This vigorous variety is prone to disease, but has recently been the subject of renewed interest, producing spicy wines with a marked tannin flavour.
Associated name: Grosse Syrah, Mondeuse

Moscatel (white)
See Moscato Giallo

Moscatel Roxo (red)
See Moscato Rosa del Trentino

Moscato (white)
See Moscato Giallo

Moscato Giallo (white)
Moscato Giallo is an Italian white wine grape variety related to Moscato di Canelli (Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains). It has golden berries and an aromatic musky flavour.
Associated names: Goldmuskateller, Moscatel, Moscato

Moscato Rosa del Trentino (red)
Moscato Rosa is a wine grape for pinkish red wine that belongs to the Muscat family of Vitis vinifera. Its name comes from its characteristic small berry size and tight clusters, and from its skin colour. It's a variation of the more common Moscato di Canelli (Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains) with a pinkish colour. Muscat Rouge à Petits Grains is a further variation with deeper skin colour. It originates from Greece. Associated names: Moscatel Roxo, Muscat Rose à Petits Grains, Red Frontignac, Rosenmuskateller

Müller-Thurgau (white)
For a long time wrongly considered to be an artificial cross between Riesling and Sylvaner created by the Swiss Dr Hermann Müller in 1882 in Germany, DNA tests showed this heritage to be incorrect, and in 2000 revealed it was actually a cross of Riesling and Madeleine Royale. Despite everything, the name of Riesling x Sylvaner (or Riesling-Sylvaner) has been incorrectly retained in Switzerland, where this very early variety with abundant yields prone to fungal disease produces light, aromatic wines lacking in complexity.
Associated name: Riesling × Sylvaner

Muscat Rose à petits grains (white)
See Moscato Rosa del Trentino

Nebbiolo (red)
Originally from Piedmont (I) where it produces the great wines of Barolo and Barbaresco, Nebbiolo is one of the oldest varieties in Europe, first recorded in 1266. Its name comes from nebbia (meaning mist), in reference to the down that covers its grapes. DNA tests have shown it to be the parent of several varieties in the north of Italy, such as Freisa and Nebbiolo Rosé. Aromatic and full-flavoured its wines are high in acidity and tannins.
Associated names: Chiavennasca, Picotendro

Oriou Gros (red)
See Vien de Nus

Neret (red)
See Neret di Saint-Vincent

Neret di Saint-Vincent (red) 
Planted in the Aosta Valley sub-zone of Arnad-Montjovet this fairly obscure variety is used in blends to darken colour and raise the level of alcohol. DNA analysis has shown it to be an offspring of Cornalin (Rouge du Pays). 
Associated name: Neret

Nosiola (white)
Traditionally this variety has been used to make Vin Santo in the Trentino region. More recently, it is being used to make aromatic and lively dry wines. DNA analysis shows a close relationship to Rèze in the Valais region of Switzerland.
Associated names: Groppello Bianco, Spargelen

Oriou Gros (red)
See Vien de Nus 

Oriou Lombard (red)
See Petit Rouge 

Païen (white)
See Savagnin Blanc 

Persan (red)
Persan is a French red grape grown mainly in Savoie. While the name alludes to Persian origins for the grape, it most likely originated in the Rhône-Alpes region, the name "Persan" being a corruption of the synonym "Princens" which is also the name of a small hamlet near of Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne in Savoie, which has stood out since the 17th century for the quality of its vineyards.

Petit Rouge (red)
Petit Rouge is the oldest and most cultivated of the indigenous red grape varieties in the Aosta Valley. Vien de Nus, another local grape variety descends from it. Its wines are always fruity and sweet, with aromas of red berries, cherries and floral notes.
Associated names: Picciou Red, Picciou Oriou, Oriou Lombard

Petite Arvine (white)
See Arvine

Picciou Oriou (red)
See Petit Rouge 

Picciou Red (red)
See Petit Rouge 

Picciou Roussin (red) 
See Roussin

Picotendro (red)
See Nebbiolo

Pignola (red)
Small plantings of this variety are found primarily in the Valtellina region of Italy. It is typically blended with Nebbiolo (called Chiavennasca in Valtellina). While the acidity is fairly high, the tannins are not as pronounced as Nebbiolo. It appears to have its origins in Valtellina and DNA studies do indicate a possible relationship with Nebbiolo.
Associated names: Pignolo Spano (Piedmont), Groppello di Breganze (Veneto)

Pignolo Spano (red)
See Pignola

Pinot Blanc (white)
A colour mutation of Pinot Noir that appeared in several places independently, Pinot Blanc was first recorded in 1868 in Burgundy where for a long time it was confused with Chardonnay. In Switzerland, this early variety, prone to fungal disease, was introduced in the 1970s. It gives strong wines, with moderate acidity, prized for drinking with food.
Associated name: Weissburgunder

Pinot Grigio (white)
See Pinot Gris

Pinot Gris (white)
A colour mutation of Pinot Noir that appeared in several places independently, Pinot Gris was first recorded in 1711 in Baden-Württemberg (D) under the name of Ruländer. In Switzerland, this early variety, which is quite prone to mildew, is known as Grauburgunder in German-speaking Switzerland, and Malvoisie in Valais. This name was borrowed from the Italian Malvasia Bianca, which was famous for its sweet wines. Its wines can be dry, with aromas of hazelnut and a touch of bitterness, or sweet (over-ripe), with aromas of quince and apricot.
Associated names: Grauburgunder, Malvoisie, Pinot Grigio

Pinot Nero (red)
See Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir (red)
A historical variety from the north-east of France, Pinot Noir probably originates from Burgundy where there are records of it dating back to 1375. In Switzerland, Pinot Noir existed historically in the canton of Vaud under the old name of Servagnin, where there are records of it dating back to 1472, and was later found in the cantons of Vaud and Neuchâtel from 1775 under the name Salvagnin. In Valais it spread under the name Petite Dole from 1848. This early, unproductive variety is the most planted in Switzerland.
Associated names: Blauburgunder, Blauer Spätburgunder, Clevner, Klävner, Pinot Nero

Plant de la Salle (white)
See Prié

Plant Noir (red)
See Douce Noire

Prié (white)
Prié (white) This is a very important variety that is grown almost exclusively in the Aosta Valley where it originated and is first mentioned in 1691. Planted between 900 and 1,200 metres at the foot of Mont Blanc, all the Prié vines are ungrafted as the phylloxera beetle was unable to survive at these altitudes. It produces a dry wine Blanc de Morgex et de La Salle as well as sparkling and dessert wines. Not only is Prié one of the oldest grape varieties in the Aosta Valley, but it also appears to have some genetic relationship through a complex pedigree with most every other grape variety in the region and also varieties in Switzerland and Spain. 
Associated names: Blanc de Morgex, Blanc du Valdigne, Plant de la Salle, Prié Blanc

Prié Blanc (white)
See Prié

Prié Rouge (red)
See Primetta

Primetta (red)
An early-ripening variety that is planted in less than 20 hectares of the Aosta Valley. Previously used in blends it was recently rescued from extinction and now produces rosé-coloured varietal dry and traditional-method sparkling wines.
Associated name: Prié Rouge

Rebo (red)
A crossing of Merlot and Teroldego created by the research centre in Trentino in 1948 for better resistance to disease. It takes its name from its creator Rebo Rigotti. The variety is grown in the Trentino region where it makes full-bodied red wines that benefit from maturation in barrel.

Red Frontignac (pink)
See Moscato Rosa del Trentino

Rèze (white)
Originally from the Valais region, Rèze is one of the oldest grape varieties in the Alps. Already mentioned in Valais in 1313, it's supposed that its name comes from the surname Regis, which was very widespread in the Middle Ages in Valais. Thanks to DNA testing, a few scattered vines have been discovered in Savoie and the French Jura, and several of its descendants have been identified in Valais, Trentino and Piedmont. Formerly amongst the majority of grapes planted in Valais, today only a few vines of this variety remain. Raze, which is not very productive and susceptible to rot, produces floral wines with a pronounced acidity. It is the main grape variety used to make the Vin du Glacier in the Val d'Anniviers in Valais.

Riesling (white)
Riesling is one of the most ancient German varieties. There are records of it dating back to 1435 in Rheingau, from where it probably originates. Its name may be derived from the old German word rîzan meaning "to split", possibly in reference to the grapes that split easily under pressure, like with Chasselas (Fendant). DNA tests have established that Riesling is one of many offsprings of Gouais Blanc, just like Chardonnay, Gamay, Furmint, etc. which are therefore half-siblings of Riesling. In Switzerland, this late-ripening variety, resistant to cold and mildew, is mainly grown in Valais and Zurich, where it gives structured, highly acidic wines, with hints of kerosene as it ages.
Associated name: Riesling Renano

Riesling Renano (white)
See Riesling 

Riesling x Sylvaner (white)
See Müller-Thurgau 

Rosenmuskateller (pink)
See Moscato Rosa del Trentino

Rossola Nera (red)
Exclusive to the Valtellina region of Italy Rossola Sera is first mentioned in records over 400 years ago. Recognised for notably high levels of acidity, Rossola Neri is generally blended with Nebbiolo (known as Chiavennasca in Valtellina). DNA evidence suggests that it is related to Nebbiolo.

Rouge du Pays (red)
See Cornalin

Roussanne (white)
Originating in the Rhone valley, Roussanne was mentioned in 1781 in a text on the wines of Hermitage. Its name refers to the red colour of the ripe grapes. DNA tests suggest that Roussanne is either a parent or an offspring of Marsanne. Ripening in mid-season, Roussanne is sensitive to wind, powdery mildew, grey mould and dust mites. In Switzerland, Roussanne is considerably less widespread than Marsanne, perhaps wrongly so when we consider the aromatic qualities and the high acidity levels of this variety, conferring a good longevity on the wines. In Savoie Roussanne is planted on steep limestone slopes in the Chignin appellation where the aromatic varietal wines are called Chignin Bergeron. Not to be confused with Roussette from Savoie.
Associated names: Barbin, Bergeron

Roussette (white)
See Altesse

Roussette de Seyssel (white)
See Altesse

Roussette d’Ayze (white)
Almost extinct this variety is used to make mainly sparkling wines in the Ayze region of Savoie. Not to be confused with other local varieties bearing the name Roussette e.g. Altesse.

Roussin (red)
A now-endangered late-ripening variety that was first mentioned in the Aosta Valley in 1838. Today it is planted in a very limited area of the lower valley. This variety is another offspring of Cornalin (Rouge du Pays) according to DNA analysis.
Associated name: Picciou Roussin

Sauvignon Blanc (white)
Originating from the Loire Valley, where it is recorded under its old name Fiers in 1534 in Rabelais' "Gargantua", Sauvignon takes its name from the wild vine with similar leaves. DNA tests reveal it to be a progeny of Savagnin Blanc, known as Heida in Valais, a full-sibling of Chenin Blanc in the Loire, and a parent of Cabernet Sauvignon through a natural cross with Cabernet Franc. In Switzerland, this very vigorous mid-season variety prone to grey mould is grown in practically all cantons, where it gives highly acidic wines, with a marked aroma of gooseberry and blackcurrant buds.

Savagnin Blanc (white)
Originating in the vast region covering the north-east of France and the south-east of Germany, Savagnin Blanc is a very old variety, also known under the name of Traminer, which has many natural offsprings, such as Sylvaner (Johannisberg in Valais), Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Grüner Veltliner, to name a few. In Switzerland, it is recorded for the first time in 1586 in the Upper Valais under the name Heida, a very old appellation translated as Païen (pagan) in the Lower Valais, in reference to ancient times before Christianity. Its cultivation is constantly increasing as Heida or Païen is a highly structured wine, with notes of citrus and exotic fruits, and great potential for ageing.
Associated names: Païen, Heida, Traminer
Schiava (red)
See Schiava Grossa

Schiava Grossa (red)
This variety belongs to the Schiava group of grape varieties grown in various Alpine regions. Schiava Grossa is the most common and was likely first cultivated in the Alto Adige. Dark-skinned it produces fairly light red wines and is often used in blends. It also grows in steep, sunny locations of the Württemberg wine region of Germany, where it is known under the name Trollinger. DNA analysis has shown that it is, in fact, a grandparent of Müller-Thurgau.
Associated names: Schiava, Vernatsch, Trollinger

Spargelen (white)
See Nosiola

Sylvaner (white)
Originally from Austria, Sylvaner is a natural cross between Savagnin (Heida in Valais) and Österreichisch Weiß, an old Austrian variety. Its name comes from the Latin silva (meaning forest), indicating a supposedly wild origin. In Switzerland, it is grown particularly in Valais where it is known as Johannisberg in reference to a famous winegrowing domain of Rheingau. Its wines offer aromas of hazelnut and mild acidity.
Associated names : Gros Rhin, Johannisberg

Syrah (red)
Originating in Isère (F) from a natural cross between Dureza from Ardèche and Mondeuse Blanche from Savoie, Syrah gets its name from the Latin serus (meaning late), in reference to its late ripening. Recorded in 1781 in the Hermitage vineyard in the Rhone valley, it was introduced from there to Valais (Switzerland) in 1921, at the Domaine de l'Etat in Leytron. Syrah produces wines of international stature that are spicy, with a note of blond tobacco, a silky flavour and great volume.

Teroldego (red)
Cultivated largely in its native region of Trentino this variety was first mentioned at the end of the 15th century. It makes red wines of deep colour and ripe tannins that mature well in oak. The grape has enjoyed something of a revival over the past 40 years. While many of the traditional wines can be enjoyed young, the more modern expressions age well. 100% varietal wines have their own DOC Teroldego Rotitaliano in Trentino and Alto Adige wines regions. DNA profiling confirms that it is one of the parents of both Lagrein and Marzemino and also has a relationship with Syrah.
Associated name: Merlina

Traminer (white)
See Savagnin Blanc 

Trollinger (red)
See Schiava Grossa

Turca (red)
See Douce Noire

Velteliner Rouge Précoce (red)
Authorised in the Savoie region, but little planted, this Austrian variety is a natural cross of Roter Veltliner and Silvaner. The grape is in fact coloured pink.
Associated name: Malvoisie Rouge d’Italie

Verdesse (white)
This aromatic variety used to be widely planted in the Isère region, but the vineyards suffered a steep decline sharply in number. The variety is currently enjoying a revival both there and in Savoie, though plantings remain limited. The name refers to the dark green colour of the leaves and berries.

Vernatsch (red)
See Schiava Grossa

Vien de Nus (red)
Meaning ‘vine of Nus’ (the name of a town of Nus to the west of the city of Aosta) this is a native red grape variety that is grown exclusively in the Aosta Valley in an area between the towns of Avise and Donnas. DNA testing has shown that it is an offspring of Petit Rouge and also related to Rouge du Pays in the Valais in Switzerland.
Associated names: Gros Rodzo, Gros Rouge, Gros Vien, Gros Vien de Nus, Oriou Gros

Vuillermin (red)
A very rare late-ripening variety in the Aosta Valley that is a cross between Fumin and an unknown variety.

Weissburgunder (white)
See Pinot Blanc