The highest connected vineyards in continental Europe lie on a sunny slope high above the river Vispa, culminating at an altitude of 1,150 m. A fascinating theme trail leads from the floor of the Rhône valley through the vineyards and up to the village of Visperterminen.
Local winegrowers cultivate a range of grape varieties of which the most prestigious is the golden Heida. This rare member of the Savagnin Blanc family of grapes flourishes on the light soils here, and produces an aromatic straw-yellow wine with notes of nuts, honey and exotic fruits.
Our trail begins in Visp, and leads through the twisting alleys of the Old Town before reaching the first of the vineyards, which extend from the banks of the Vispa for 500 vertical metres up the mountainside. The path zig-zags up through the vines before turning south to climb to the village of Visperterminen. The views of the Vispa valley – which leads to the resorts of Zermatt and Saas-Fee – and of the snow-capped peaks in the distance are enchanting.
Along the trail, information panels tell a fascinating story. The vineyards here date back to Celtic, pre-Roman times – hence the name «Heida», derived from the word for «pagan». Many kilometres of dry-stone walls, painstakingly built and maintained by hand, support the narrow terraces of the steep vineyards; the rocks store warmth from the sun and radiate it out again through the night, helping the vines flourish at this high altitude.
Hundreds of part-time winegrowers working tiny plots handed down over generations cultivate grapes for the main cooperative winery, the St. Jodern Kellerei, open for visits. Restaurants along the route also offer the chance to taste the wines along with local delicacies.
Use of the trails and the information on this website is at hikers’ own risk. Local conditions may entail changes to routes. Valais/Wallis Promotion accepts no liability for the accuracy and completeness of information on this website.
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