Valais is Switzerland’s 3rd largest canton (state) with an area of 5,200 km2 (1,285,000 acres). Located in southwestern Switzerland, most of its territory is part of the Swiss Alps. The Rhône river, one of Europe’s most important river, takes its source at the Rhône glacier in eastern Valais, and flows westbound through the canton’s main valley. Valais’ main vineyards are located on slopes along the river banks over a span of approximately 100km (62mi).
Valais is Switzerland’s main wine region with approximately 1/3 of the country’s production. While Valais produces a majority of red wines (predominantly Pinot Noir), it is well-known for its Fendant (a white wine, Fendant is a synonym of Chasselas and is the official name given to this varietal in the Valais region only) and Dôle, a traditional blend of Pinot and Gamay. It boasts Switzerland’s largest diversity of varietals, which includes treasures such as the whites Petite Arvine, Amigne and Heida, and the reds Humagne and Cornalin. Its micro climate makes it one of Switzerland’s warmest and driest region, which allows it to also successfully grow international varietals such as Syrah.