Walks and wine in Graubunden

The eastern canton of Graubünden is Switzerland’s largest. There, some of the best wines can be found in the communes of Fläsch, Maienfeld, Jenins and Malans (all part of the Bündner Herrschaft subzone). These vineyards not only have good southern exposure but they also receive perhaps the most beneficial warm foehn winds in the entire country. Pinot noir is by far the most planted grape in this region.

Jo & MarionThere are many wonderful walks to be had in this area, often through the vineyards. With our guide (my sister Jo who lives in nearby Trimmis), we drove to the village of Fläsch . We then walked towards Maienfeld, which despite having a population of fewer than 3,000, is in fact a city (recorded as such in 1346) because it has a wall around it – well the old town did. Today Maienfeld’s biggest tourist attraction is Heidiland because this is where Johanna Spyri found her inspiration for her world-famous novel, Heidi. You can see some of Heidiland in the background of the photo (esp. the right half) showing Jo & Marion in the vineyards. Note all the dandelion flowers. It seems that they encourage them here and also promote organic practices.

Highland longhair cowThose Kiwis who know of the superb Fromm wines produced in Marlborough, should know that Georg Fromm has always retained his original vineyards in Malans. On the outskirts of Fläsch you should look out for the stunning winery of highly respected winemakers, Martha and Daniel Gantenbein. Their architects used a computer and robot to come up with a brick wall design like none other. Amazing optical effects are created both in and outdoors.  If you do access this website, make sure you scroll from the lower RHS to enjoy all the images.

Nearby, every summer, possibly 1,500 rare mouse-eared bats lodge under the copper roof of the baroque church tower in Fläsch. You can watch them out at dusk, hunting.