Humagne Rouge, offspring of Cornalin from Valais
The name Humagne Rouge appears for the first time in an inventory of grapes grown in Fully, around 1900. No one knows why the grape is called Humagne Rouge – it has no link to the real Humagne, which has white berries. That Humagne Rouge originated in the Aosta Valley in Italy has long been known; we’ve known for some 20 years that the variety is identical to the Cornalin grape from the Aosta Valley. This identity has recently been confirmed by DNA tests.
Humagne Rouge is a natural progeny of Valais Cornalin (aka Rouge du Pays) and an unknown grape. Humagne Rouge is therefore from Val D’Aosta stock – Valais Cornalin is itself the offspring of that region’s Mayolet and Petit Rouge grapes.
Just as white-berry Humagne nearly died out, Humagne Rouge also came close to disappearing from Valais: by the 1960s only 5 or 6 vine parcels remained. In the 1980s interest was revived, allowing Humagne Rouge to make a comeback and find its place among the traditional grape varieties of Valais.