The physical layout of the Aosta valley favors the cultivation of vines because the mountains tend to block the coldest winds, thereby creating suitable microclimates in which grapes have flourished since the remotest times. In the second half of the 19th century, the phylloxera epidemic devastated the Aosta Valley vineyards. Fortunately, destruction was not total. The vineyards slowly revived and flourished anew. The only lasting setback was the disappearance of several vine varieties.
Donnaz was the valley’s first DOC wine, receiving that recognition in 1971. The following year, it was the turn of Enfer d’Arvier. Although other wines were in line and qualified to receive the DOC designation, all further movement was halted until 1985 while a plan was worked out to place all regional wines of fine quality under the common denomination of Valle d’Aosta-Vallée d’Aoste. The regional indication is followed by the name of the variety involved or of a restricted production area.