Domaine de Beudon
When Jacques and Marion Granges settled on the mountainside hamlet of Beudon in the early 1970s, most of the farmers in the Valais were abandoning the steep, rocky slopes in favor of the fertile plain along the Rhone river. Many high-elevation vineyard holdings fell into disrepair or were discarded, and much of the viticulture was moved down to the doorstep of the mountains rather than on the mountains themselves. The difference in altitude between these vineyard sites can be as much as 500 meters. The resulting wines from Beudon’s highest sites at nearly 900 meters tend to be characterized by ripe fruit from the long hang time on sun-intensive south facing slopes, high acidity due to cool nights and the lack of very hot days, and correspondingly low alcohol. The wines from the sites at 400 meters vary depending on the cultivar, with Pinot Noir achieving much higher ripeness and alcohol levels. Domaine de Beudon converted to biodynamic agriculture in 1993, one of the first Swiss wineries to do so. In a country whose wines are dominated by heavily manipulated, overly technical oenological practices, this dynamic, polycultural farm produces some of the most unique, light touch, and drinkable wines in the Valais, if not all of Switzerland.