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This is the oldest and most famous of the cantons. The name itself is derived from the Roman Vallis Poenina (Upper Rhône valley). It accounts for one-third of the country's vineyards approximately 5,200 ha's (though some fall within the German-speaking sector).

It also contains Europe's highest vineyards at around 1,000 meters at the village of

Visperterminen. The steeper vineyards used to be irrigated by wooden channels known as bisses. Today however this is rare and only occurs during the growing season.

Of all the areas in Switzerland Valais has the driest and sunniest climate. Over a third of Valais wine is red and two thirds of this is Pinot Noir.   The most famous red wine produced here is "Dôle", a blend of Pinot Noir (not less than 50%) and Gamay with a minimum Oechsle of 85°.

This area is also well known for its white wine, Fendant that is sometimes slightly effervescent and made from the Chasselas grape and is normally dry. The second most important white variety is Johannisberg, the Valais name for Sylvaner, which makes excellent dry white wine in this region.