Heida, aka Païen, Upper Valais’s Vin Jaune
Heida signifies old or ancient, a literal translation from an Upper Valais dialect, referring to the time before the arrival of Christianity, pagan times (Wolf, 1886). Similarly, we find Heidenhäusern (old houses) and Heido, the name of the oldest bisse (mountain irrigation channel) in Visperterminen.
French-speakers in Valais began called it Païen in 1812. The grape is none other than Savagnin Blanc from the French Jura, the grape behind the region’s famous Vin Jaune. It was brought to Valais during the Middle Ages and adapted well to the very particular terroir of Visperterminen, a village whose vines are perched on terraces that go from 650 metres altitude to 1,150 m.
Source: Histoire de la Vigne et du Vin en Valais, « Les cépages au XVIe siècle: Muscat, Gouais Blanc, Gros Bourgogne et Savagnin Blanc », José Vouillamoz, ampelographer.