We are in a continuous quest for local gems in Switzerland, especially hiking trails off the beaten path. Hiking became the most practiced sport this year as people continue favouring outdoors. Our new experience of hiking in Valais came with a bonus this time – an amazing wine tasting experience! The Chamoson – Home of Johannisberg – a distinctive hiking trail which includes an amazing mix of mountain ascent, vineyards and a stroll through the forest. You’ll be accompanied by a roaring river for part of the trail and a wine tasting will be waiting you at the end of experience to quench the thirst.
Overall this hiking trail in Valais is a bit demanding in effort but easy to follow, as you just need to look for the blue S sign distributed across.
We started the hike in Saint-Pierre-de-Clages village. The cute little village with a 12-century church holds the title of the Suisse Book Village, which is given only to one village in whole Switzerland! Our guide and host was a member of the tourism office of Chamoson, very knowledgeable about the area, and shared with us many interesting facts that made the hike super enjoyable.
The trail began to take us upward the mountain. As we got higher the vineyards started forming waves of green across the surrounding nature, making the hike along Petite Arvine vineyards such an enchanting experience.
At every stage of this hike there are benches where you can sit, relax and enjoy a breath taking view of the landscape above Chamoson and its region. We sat sipping a glass of chilled wine and embracing the beauty of the surrounding nature. No wonder the locals called the region “Terroir Vivant” due to its bio diversity of plants and animals.
By noon, 2 hours after the start, we got to the lunch break spot at a local restaurant «La Préfecture» which was at the peak of our route. A generous and tasty meal, where the owner of the restaurant himself greeted us and shared more stories about the region over coffee.
From there the forest part of the hike starts. No more complains of the heat, as the trees covered us with their shade. We went in a circular downward trail till we eventually reached our wine tasting at “John & Mike Favre” winery. The owners, a very friendly couple, were there to greet us and share with us their wine stories. The wine cellar was founded in 1978 however wine making goes back in the family as far as 1886. The lovely couple manages this gem together and have international experience having lived in the US for 7 years as wine experts. Mike is not only a winemaker but also a professional wine taster and member of the International Wine Tasters Organization. He is also a professional biker, keeping a great collection of classic bikes, including a rare Swiss Condor of 1972 that he rides proudly wearing a helmet with the Valais flag!
We tried the best of the cave, including the renowned “Johannisberg” and “Petite Arvine”. Everything here is of high attention to details including the little bottle labels with a drawing by a local artist.
Mike made us realise that probably the best companion of wine tasting is not charcuterie or bread or even cheese, but the enchanting stories he shared with us from winemaking to bike riding! In the end it’s these welcoming and friendly people that make those gems pretty special.
Always check the weather conditions ahead if you plan to go on the Chamoson hiking trail in Valais. You should not attempt to do the hike under heavy rain as the area went through a serious mud flood couple of years ago that can get very dangerous.
The hiking trail is not suited for pushchairs or strollers.
And do yourself a favour – plan the full day from 10 a.m to 5 p.m to fully enjoy experience and indulge! 🙂