Lavaux

The Vineyard Terraces of Switzerland

rad-signs

There’s inherent beauty evident across Switzerland, but the region around Lac Léman has a unique individual charm that is further amplified by the terraced vineyards that border it.

The entire region of the Swiss Riviera is in dramatic contrast with each other. The snow-covered Alps are to the south of the lake – on the opposite side of the vineyards. The deep blue of Lake Geneva changes colour with the movement of the sun, occasionally dotted by a boat passing through with the bright red Swiss flag fluttering in the wind. And then there is the endless green of the vineyards in the North. It’s majestic, it’s romantic, and it’ll make you feel drunk with splendour much before you taste the wine that’s on offer here.

This 30-kilometre region of Lavaux stretches from the city of Lausanne all the way to Chateau de Chillon in Montreaux, and because of its cultural importance, the locality has been given the distinction of being a UNESCO World Heritage site.

I had the pleasure of spending a few weeks bang in the middle of this belt, staying amidst the vineyards, exploring the tiny Swiss-French villages that showcase a very different side of Switzerland as compared to some of the famous – more mountainous – provinces.

swiss-flag

Wine growing is a particularly personal and passionate characteristic that impacts this territory and all the people who live in it. Strict building regulations, wine associations that are 100 years old and promote working together, and healthy competition between different wine producers make this a hidden gem that is often overlooked by visitors.

California with Napa and Australia with its Yarra valley have romanticised wine culture to an extreme, but it’s the subtleness and non-commercial, more personal, aspects of the Swiss wine growers that makes it characteristic and praiseworthy. There’s no hullabaloo over wine resorts or mansions here. Instead, it’s only about manufacturing good wine and working together as a community to achieve that.

pullyThere are enough touristy attractions such as the Lavaux Vinorama, or Toy Train rides through the Vineyards that help promote the wine culturally, but what attracted me was discovering cute sounding and looking villages – Pully (pronounced Pu-yee), Cully (pronounced Ku-yee), Lutry,  Chexbres (pronounced Shebre), Rivaz… that makes Lavaux such a beautiful detour.

Now, technically the small roads that serpent through the Vineyards are private, and you cannot take your own car on them – the wine growers use them for their day to day work. However, the best way to be among the vines is to either walk/hike on these roads or take one of the small toy train rides that usually include wine tasting.

The best season to be here is obviously around or just before harvest time (October-ish), but when we visited in June, the grapes had started to show and the leaves were already a beautiful shade of green. Being among the vineyards and appreciating wine is an activity that suits all ages, and as for the tasting part, most places have grape juice for kids.

vevey

Reading and researching about Switzerland has led me to believe that unfortunately most travellers skip this area either limiting their visit to some of the nearby bigger towns – Montreux, Vevey, Lausanne, Geneva – or else going higher up in the mountains to popular and well-known places like Gstaad and Gruyere.

Here are a few photographs (and a few videos), that should convince you of the beauty that the region bestows upon us all. Taken at various different places in this stretch, these ought to tempt you, to explore this spectacular province of Switzerland, the next time you’re there.

vineyard-corseaux

wine-leaf

view-from-the-lake

vineyards-black-and-white

corseaux

vinyard

corseaux-vineyards

lavaux-view

cloud-burst-over-lake-geneva

terraced-vineyards

living-in-the-vineyards

vine-leaf

vineyards-toy-train

vineyards-all-around

lavaux

 

Advertisements

54 replies »

  1. How gorgeous. I never would have considered a winery in Switzerland as you are right – California and Australia truly romanticize the winery experience and culture. The industry does shape a region and it is nice to read that this Swiss region has made itself unique from the norm with its personal and non-commercial aspects. The scenery looks quite pristine and I do agree that it should not be overlooked when a trip is planned to Switzerland.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I used to live in Switzerland, so I loved reading this post! 🙂 I am happy to hear that you had a nice experience there. I quite enjoyed watching your time lapse driving videos… and your photos are all so lovely! Thank you for sharing your experience!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. First, your photos of Lavaux are beautiful. The landscapes look amazing and I think any photographer would love to visit just for that. I also love the little villages and towns; it really looks secluded and charming.

    Now, I’m not a wine person so I’m not sure what I’d be talking about, but it is pretty cool to see the vineyards to see them solely dedicated to their craft of making great wine. It was kind of when we were visiting Italy, we went to some places producing olive oil, and there’s nothing fancy about those places, they were just dedicated to producing a good product. Lovely post and will have to keep this region in mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ok I hate to leave the most cliche compliment but honestly Switzerland is my favorite so I just love these photos! I too am guilty of visiting Switzerland but overlooking wine country so this was really interesting to read. I am always looking for excuses to head back! Good to know that while October is the best time to go it would be sufficient to go outside of that window also. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. We love spending time in the wine regions of the world and Switzerland is no different. I’m pretty happy to make the most of whatever the region has to offer and don’t compare it necessarily to others, but take each on it’s own merits. This area looks wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. We enjoy vineyards when we visit British Columbia, however, never been to Switzerland. It’s hard for me to compare. But I loved the vineyards of Switzerland from the lens of your camera and videos.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. We always love visiting vineyards! Would love to check out this area in Switzerland. Your photos definitely convinced us that we need to add it to our itinerary. The villages in the Lavaux area do look super cute!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s