Complete Wine Tasting Guide Near Lausanne
A wine country in Switzerland?
What are we drinking, right?
Well, hold onto your chalice. Not only is there a wine country in Switzerland, there are a couple of them. And the one visited by PubClub.com is spectacular, with sights surpassing those of many more renowned places, including some in France and California. It’s views with vino.
This is a guide to the wine country of the Lake Geneva region of Switzerland outside of Lausanne known as Lavaux.
It’s in a gorgeous area overlooking huge Lake Geneva and you can get there on a train – or even a boat, as did PubClub.com – and be back in Lausanne for dinner. Or even Zurich. It’s wine with no whine.
Wine Country Villages
The vineyards in this area are located above a dozen tiny villages along Lake Geneva (Cully, Lutry and Vilette among them), so small you can go through each of them in a manner of minutes. But why would you want to be in a hurry?
The roads are steep and narrow and the wineries are small and tucked into the hills along along the lake. It’s almost like being in a fairy tale.
The simplicity of the place is what makes it such a special experience. And it’s certainly unique. This isn’t Napa Valley. There are no organized tours, no dozens or even hundreds of people crowding the wineries, no masses of vehicles rolling onto the property. It’s so quiet you can hear the corks pop.
In fact, you may be hard pressed to find any fellow travelers who know this wine country even exists. When you show up at a winery, you will likely be the only ones there and may even initially startle the proprietors. But they will welcome you with open arms, take you on a tour and pour samples. You can also buy the wines on site.
As you go through the area, you are walking, driving or biking through the middle of the vineyards. You almost feel like grabbing a few grapes and stomping on them. But of course, the wineries have done that for you.
The Wineries & Wine Tasting
Going wine tasting is as simple as arriving and popping into a place. There are tasting rooms in the villages – marked by signs – or just show up at a winery. There are signs along the roads pointing the way to the vineyards. It’s as simple as it sounds.
A winery not to be missed is Domaine du Daley, between Cully and Lutry. Established in 1392 it’s the oldest winery in Switzerland and produces the area’s most popular wine, a fairly light but very tasteful chardonnay called Le Chasselas,
This is what Swiss wines are all about, in fact. If you prefer reds, its Le Pinot Noir is excellent.
The wine is so good and the view so spectacular you’ll want to grab a bottle and just stand on the patio soaking it all in for a while. A looong while. Many people do, in fact, for it’s a very popular place for weddings. Tours are only by appointment and it’s website is: www.daley.ch.
One way to sample all the wines in the region in one easy stop is to go to Lavaux Vinorama. This a tasting room of all the area’s wineries. It’s between Lausanne and Montreux and features a staggering (literally) 200 regional wines in site of the vines that can be tasted and bought on site. Details can be found at the tasting room’s website.
If you want to stop at a restaurant in a village to pair food with the local wines, PubClub.com recommends Le Rivage across from Lake Geneva in Lutry. You won’t leave this place hungry but you will leave it satisfied.
Transportation To Wine Country: Trains, Boats, Walking & A Bike Path
As previously mentioned, this is not Napa Valley, and as such, there are no organized tours or lineups of limos from the city. Getting there means you’re on your own.
But that’s what’s so cool about it, too. You take a train, boat, bike or, for those who enjoy a brisk hike, walk.
To take the train from Lausanne, get off at Vevey. This is the wine-trading place for the area and you can start walking or biking to the wineries. Or take the Lavaux Express, a train on wheels rather than tracks that goes through the village streets; stops include Lutry and Cully.
Its website (in Swiss only) is: www.lavauxexpress.ch. There are also a few cabs in the villages.
You can also arrive in style by boat. It’s walking distance from the Olympic Museum in Lausanne. Get off at Cully, about a 45-minute ride on Lake Geneva. You can walk to the wineries up through the towns off the boat.
The vineyards are 15-20 minutes from the dock but because of the steepness hills, you do need to be energetic to do this walk for any distance. Check schedules here: www.cgn.ch.
Be sure and get a Swiss pass, which includes transportation on trains, local trams and boats throughout Switzerland.
People in Switzerland like to bike and love to walk and you can do the same. It’s a three-hour walk from Lausanne’s Ouchy lakefront to Cully. But the area is hilly, so it’s a workout to do it this way. It also may take a bit longer to walk back after visiting a few wineries, considering your path is not likely to be as direct as before the wine tasting.
So just hope on the ferry, which also stops in Lutry, to get back to Lausanne.You can also do this if you’re on a bike. Or start in Lutry, head in the other direction and catch the train in Vevey.
Simple, yes. And also sensational.