By Lisa Rowlands

An artificial crossing of Gamay and Reichensteiner, Garanoir was bred at a research centre in Pully, Lausanne in 1970, with the aim of producing a grape with similar characteristics to Gamay but with a stronger resistance to rot and mildew. Intended for planting initially in the Valais region of Switzerland, the grape is now an established variety in other parts of the country and is represented in small quantities in parts of The United States, Germany and The United Kingdom.

Garanoir is an early ripening variety with a high yield potential and a rich, deep purple colour. It produces varietal wines that have intense blackberry aromas, and it is also used in a number of interesting blends with other red wine grapes such as Gamay, Pinot Noir and its sibling Gamaret. Despite the grapes identical ancestry, blends between Garanoir and Gamaret have resulted in some distinctive wines that are rich, robust and harmonious in structure.