In the dialect spoken in Upper Valais, Heida means “original” or “old”. It arose from mutations and accidental crossings and counts as one of the ancient varieties that are the ancestors of today’s noble grapes
. The grape arrived in the Rhône Valley sometime in the Middle Ages. The Heida wine grape was first mentioned in Valais
in the 16th century but it was probably already grown in the region long before that.
It found ideal growing conditions on the steep sunny slopes of the Vispertal valley. Visperterminen’s vineyard terraces with their characteristic dry stone walls lie at an altitude between 600 and 1,150 metres above sea level, making them among the highest vineyards in Europe. The slopes also get lots of sunshine and the late autumn days when the warm föhn is blowing allow the golden yellow grapes of Heida to ripen fully. For some years now, plantings of this variety have also increased in Lower Valais, where it is known as Païen.
Heida: wine with exotic aromas – and with special powers
According to local legend, Heida is said to make people able to talk sense endlessly, feel incredibly happy and rich, and have the strength of a giant. Wine drinkers will doubtless experience the feelings of happiness at least!
A wine made from Heida is typically a lush, straw-yellow colour, with prominent exotic fruit and a full body. The Heida grape variety is usually vinified as a dry wine, but it is also well suited to the production of sweet wines too. Heida goes very well with mature alpine cheeses, air-dried meats or meaty terrines.