By Lisa Rowlands

This hybrid variety - much like its siblings Gamaret and Garanoir - was created with the aim of producing a red wine grape characteristically similar to Gamay but being less susceptible to fungal disease and other common viticultural hazards. It was also hoped that the new variety would produce wines that are richer in colour than those of its parent.

An early ripening variety exclusive to the country in which it was created, Mara is grown predominantly in the Valais and Vaud regions where it is gaining a good reputation amongst forward-thinking producers. Presently accounting for only thirteen of Switzerland’s fifteen-thousand hectares under vine (< 0.1%), it seems likely however that it will grow in popularity in the coming years.

Often blended with other varieties, Mara can also be vinified separately to produce medium to full bodied wines which are rich in colour with a smooth structure and spicy aroma.