Lafnetscha and Himbertscha, surprising grapes from Upper Valais
Here are two Upper Valais specialty grapes whose names have a rhythmic pairing, as do their family backgrounds. Lafnetscha is a rarely-found grape mentioned for the first time in the “Gazette du Valais” in 1856, with the name Lafnetschen Blanc: “Rarogne, where they sing the praises of Saint Germain and Lafnetscha White.”
The name comes a German dialect, “laffen Sie es nicht”, or “don’t drink too much” or “not so fast”.
HImbertscha is an even rarer grape. Its name has nothing to do with raspberries (Himbeeren in German); it comes from “im Bercla”, meaning “in the trellis”. “Bercla” was a germanization of the Italian “pergola”. During the 1970s, Himbertscha was saved in extremis, on the verge of disappearing, by Josef-Marie Chanton, a producer in Visp who noticed a small number of these vines in very old vineyards in Visperterminen.
Source: Histoire de la Vigne et du Vin en Valais, «Lafnetscha et Himbertscha, cépages insolites du Haut-Valais», José Vouillamoz, ampelographer.