Alpine grapes glossary

This brief glossary is not exhaustive but offers a brief explanation of the most represented grape varieties in the Alpine arc. With thanks to Dr José Vouillamoz, Swiss grape geneticist and co-author of 'Wine Grapes’.

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)
Altesse is from the south-east of France and its prestigious parenthood includes Syrah, Mondeuse, Viognier, Marsanne or Roussanne.

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 Valle d'Aosta (I) and in France.

Bondola (red)
Previously the most widely grown variety in Ticino (Switzerland) where there are records of it dating back to 1785, Bondola was rapidly supplanted by the Merlot 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

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 (F), 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 (F), 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. In Switzerland, this variety prone to fungal disease is grown essentially for making Bordeaux blends (with Cabernet Franc and Merlot), adding notes of blackcurrants and blackberries.

Chardonnay (white)
A natural cross of Pinot and Gouais Blanc, Chardonnay probably originated in Saône-et-Loire (F), 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. In Switzerland, 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 or vintages, 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.
Associated names: Fendant, Gutedel

Completer (white)
An old variety from Graubünden (Switzerland) where there are records of it dating back to 1321 at Malans near Coire, Completer takes its name from completorium, 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.

Cornalin (red)
Traditionally known as Rouge du Pays, this old variety from Valais (Switzerland) was renamed Cornalin in 1972, borrowing the name from a Valle d'Aosta variety. This was clearly a premonition, as DNA tests revealed it was in fact a natural cross between two varieties from Valle d'Aosta: Petit Rouge and Mayolet. Originally from Valle d'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 edge 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 region, where it is exclusively grown. Difficult in the vineyard with variable yields, Cornalin produces colourful, fruity and juicy wines with silky tannins and a pleasant bitterness.
Associated name: Rouge du Pays

Cornalin d'Aoste (red)
Not to be confused with Cornalin du Valais. Indeed, the name Cornalin was borrowed from the Valle d'Aosta in the 1960s, when the grape variety was believed to have disappeared, to rename a quality grape variety but with an unglamorous name, le Rouge du Pays.

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, often used for blends.

Diolle (red)
Diolle is an old variety of Valais (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 Reichensteiner, 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 the use of crop protection products to be drastically reduced. 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.
Associated name: (IRAC 2091)

Divona (white)
Born from the union of Bronner (a German grape variety) 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.

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.

Fumin (red)
Fumin is a red grape native to the alpine region of Valle d'Aosta in northern Italy. According to the latest DNA analyses, there is a direct genetic link with the Vuillermin variety. A reputedly rustic wine, 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 (F) 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 (F) where it was first recorded (and banned...) in 1395. 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 (spice in German) and Traminer (Savagnin in Germany). Observed for the first time in 1827 in Rheingau (D), this mutation has multiplied and been propagated throughout the world. An early grape suited to cooler climates, Gewürztraminer is not widely grown in Switzerland, where it produces rich wines, with a powerful aroma of rose petals and lychees.

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

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 it is also found in some regions of the Czech Republic and Hungary, Germany, Slovakia and Italy. 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.

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 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 (F). 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 Blanc, this variety introduced to Valais (Switzerland) in the late 19th century from Valle d'Aosta (I) has been confused with Petit Rouge d'Aoste since the 1970s, until enzyme and genetic testing in 1999 identified it as Cornalin d'Aoste, from which Rouge du Pays borrowed its name in 1972. It is the product of a natural cross which took place in Valle d'Aosta between Rouge du Pays and an unknown variety. In Switzerland, Humagne Rouge is grown almost exclusively in Valais, where it produces characterful wines, with notes of dried vine leaves and violet and a wild side.

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.

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.

Lafnetscha (white)
With records of it dating back to 1627 in Haut 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 Haut Valais, this local mid-season rarity produces dry wines, with sustained acidity and notes of apple and elderberry.

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.

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 and ENSAM. It was introduced mainly in the vineyards of Languedoc, the Rhone Valley, in Spain as well as on the northern coast of California, in Switzerland 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.

Merlot (red)
A variety of Gironde (F), 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 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.

Mondeuse Blanche (white)
An old variety of Savoie (F), 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 (F), 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 was widespread before the 19th century in the Lemanic Arc and in Valais 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

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 (white)
Moscato Rosa is a wine grape for white 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 H. 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

Nebbiolo (red)
Originally from Piedmont (I) where it is used to produce 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. In Switzerland, this late-ripening variety has been grown since the 1970s, but its presence is minimal and its wines are highly tannic and full-bodied.

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

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.

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)

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

Pinot Blanc (white)
A colour mutation of Pinot Noir that appeared in several places independently, Pinot Blanc was first recorded in 1868 in Burgundy (F) 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 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: Malvoisie, Grauburgunder, Pinot Grigio

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 Neuchatel, it has also been known by the names Tecou and Cortaillod since 1754, while in Valais it has become widespread since 1848 under the name Petite Dole. This early, unproductive variety is the most common in Switzerland. Its wines of international stature offer aromas of strawberry, and are generally fresh and delicate.
Associated names: Blauburgunder, Klävner

Prié Blanc (white)
Prié blanc is a white Italian wine grape variety that is grown almost exclusively in the Valle d'Aosta (Italy). The Valle d'Aosta varietal wine Blanc de Morgex et de La Salle is made from Prié blanc grapes. Ampelographers consider Prié blanc one of the oldest grape varieties in the Valle d'Aosta. Through a complex pedigree it appears to have some genetic relationship with most every other grape variety in the region.

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.

Rèze (white)
Originally from Valais (Switzerland), Rèze is one of the oldest grape varieties in the Alps. Already mentioned in Valais in 1313, its name would come from the surname Regis, very widespread in the Middle Ages in Valais, rather than from a hypothetical Raetica of the authors of the Roman era. Thanks to the DNA test, we have been able to discover a few scattered vines in Maurienne (Savoie, F) and in the French Jura, and several of its descendants have been identified in Valais, Piedmont (I) and in Trentino (I). Formerly among the majority grape varieties in Valais, today there are only a few vines of this variety, which is not very productive and susceptible to rot, giving floral wines with a pronounced acidity. Rèze is the main grape variety for making the 158 Vin du Glacier in the Val d'Anniviers.

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

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

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.

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 Haut Valais under the name Heida, a very old appellation translated as Païen (pagan) in Bas 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
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 (D). Its wines offer aromas of hazelnut and mild acidity.
Associated names : Johannisberg, Gros Rhin

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. Most of the vines are still found in Valais, where 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

Verdesse (white)
Verdesse is a French white grape grown primarily in the Bugey region. It is also permitted under the Vin de Savoie AOC for wines produced in the Isère department. Ampelographers believe that the variety is likely very old and originated along the Drac and Grésivaudan valleys in Isère.

Vernatsch (red)
Vernatsch is a red Italian wine grape that was likely first originally cultivated in the wine regions of Alto Adige and Trentino, but today it is almost exclusively cultivated on steep, sunny locations in the Württemberg wine region of Baden-Württemberg. It is known under the name Trollinger in Germany, Vernatsch in Alto Adige and Schiava in other Italian regions. 
Associated names: Trollinger, Schiava

Vien de Nus (red)
This is a native red grape variety from the Valle d'Aosta in an area between the towns of Avise and Donnas. The name is a reference to the town of Nus. It belongs to a family of grape varieties typical of the alpine regions of Valais and the Valle d'Aosta.
Associated names:  Gros Rouge, Gros Rodzo, Gros Vien, Gros Vien de Nus, Oriou Gros