The Vaud wine region of Switzerland produces a quarter of the country’s wine and is the second biggest wine-producing region of the country. The most incredible feature of Vaud is the diversity in its viticulture. Within the region, 55 different varietals of grapes are produced meaning that it produces a diverse range of high-quality wines. The history of viticulture in Vaud dates back to the Middle Ages when it began within the Cistercian monks. This rich history is celebrated once every 25 years at the Fete de Vignerons, a wine festival that showcases the most authentic winemaking traditions of Vaud.
Highly Diverse Wines from the Spectecular Side of Switzerland
The wine making region of Vaud in Switzerland produces a quarter of the country’s wine. It is the second largest wine making region in Switzerland and is most well-known for the incredibly diverse range of wines that it produces. This is thanks to the 55 different grape varietals that are grown in the vineyards of Vaud.
The tradition of wine making in Vaud dates back to the Dezaley’s Vineyards that were cultivated in the Middle Ages by the local Cistercian monks. To celebrate this, every 25 years the people of Vaud host the Fete des Vignerons, a wine festival and show that showcases the most authentic aspects of wine making in Vaud and its rich traditions.
Winemaking Regions in Vaud
The wine-making regions of Vaud are divided into four areas. The La Cote area is located in the western part of the Lake Geneva basin between Nyon and Morges. Lavaux extends from Lausanne to Vevey-Montreux and is home to the most famous Dezaley vineyards. These terraced vineyards are planted on the mountain slopes between St Saphorin and Epesses, overlooking the beautiful lake. The Chablais region can be found on the right banks of the Rhone between Bex and Villeneuve.
Vaud wine region is further devided into following appellations:
La Côte AOC
Dézaley Grand Cru AOC
Côtes de l’Orbe AOC
Calamin Grand Cru AOC
In Vaud, the climate is largely influenced by the many lakes in the region. These lakes create a climate that is favorable for the cultivation of vineyards. The soils of the region have been produced thanks to the combined forces of the rivers, mountains, and glaciers in the region. These forces have produced a diverse range of soils which in turn produce a diverse range of wines.
The wines of Vaud differ widely depending on the sub-region in which they are produced. Wines from the La Cote sub-region have a softer structure and are more delicate in character. These wines have a slightly lower alcohol content than other Vaud wines because of the deeper soils and less exposure to the sun. The wines from Lavaux are full-bodied with a high level of minerality. These wines do very well when aged. The characteristics of these wines are thanks to the south-facing slopes on which the vineyards are planted and poorer soil quality. In Chablais, which is semi-mountainous, there are warm winds that blow through the valley which gives the grapes an excellent concentration. The result of this is wines that are broad, concentrated, and powerful with stony undertones.
Of all of the wines produced in Vaud, the ones that are most lauded are the fresh and fruity white wines that are produced using the Chasselas grape. This grape is highly refined and has multiple flavours depending on the type of soil in which it is grown. Chasselas is extremely sensitive to the nature of the soil and as a result of this, can be used to produce a wide range of different tasting white wines.
The red wines of the Vaud are produced using mainly Pinot Noir and Gamay grapes. These wines represent almost a quarter of all wines produced in the region.
More recently, wine makers in the Vaud region have begun to produce Grand Cru using Dezaley and Calamin grapes.
The Domain De Maison Blanche winery and estate is one of the most beautifully located wineries in Vaud. Perched on a hill overlooking Lake Geneva, Domain De Maison Blanche was built in the 13th century and today covers 10 hectares of land. This winery is a family run business that focusses on producing excellent wines without the use of any chemicals and in perfect harmony with nature. Domain De Maison Blanche welcomes visitors to tour the estate and enjoy a wine tasting experience paired with the best local delicacies in the most beautiful location in Vaud.
Domain De La Crausaz was founded in 1515 close to the city of Lausanne. The terraced vineyards of the estate provide some of the most beautiful views in the region. The winemakers at Domain De La Crausaz pride themselves on using the best state of the art equipment in their processes to produce some of the region’s best wines. Domain De La Crausaz has a number of wine tourism offerings including wine tasting, wine pairing events, meals at the restaurant, gastronomic evenings and private events.
The Domain La Colombe is a family run winery located in the small village of Fechy in the hills of Vaud overlooking Lake Geneva. The winery is a family run business that uses only biodynamic approaches to wine making. The wines of Domain La Colombe are a true reflection of the soil from which they come and the love and passion of the wine makers. The estate welcomes visitors to learn more about their wine making techniques and taste some of the estate wines in the beautiful winery setting.
The Chillon Castle is an ancient castle that sits on a rocky island in the middle of Lake Geneva. As it stands today, the castle is a result of many centuries of redevelopment and reconstruction. Excavations at the site show that the castle has stood since the bronze age. The island on which it was built was selected as a form of natural protection. As a result of the shape of the island, the castle has an oval shape and is approximately 100m long and 50m wide. It was given the name Chillon Castle from the word Chillon which meant ‘rocky platform’ in one of the ancient languages spoken during the time of its construction. Today, Chillon Castle is a heritage minute which houses over 300 display items for visitors to enjoy. Throughout the year the castle is used as venue for the hosting of a range of events and for those who visit, it also houses the Café Byron restaurant which boasts some of the area’s most excellent food and views.
Golden Pass Railway – Take An Unforgettable Journey Across Switzerland
The Golden Pass is a train route that begins in the Swiss city of Lucerne. From here it meanders to Montreux along the Brunig Pass and passed the lakes of Bernese Oberland, Gstaad, Lake Geneva and the Simmen Valley. Unlike other trains, the Golden Pass is not a direct train. Instead, it is a scenic route that is serviced by a number of wonderful trains. Along the journey and depending on the route you have taken; you might have to switch trains at Zweisimmen and Interlaken. The entire scenic route takes 5.5 hours to travel and is the perfect way to see much of Switzerland in a short period of time. For each section of the route there are different train types, all of which are incredibly comfortable. The Golden Pass is perfect during any season and is a wonderful experience for travellers of all ages.
Lausanne Cathedral – Gothic Art Monument in Lausanne
The Lausanne Cathedral is located in the heart of old town Lausanne where it overlooks the entire city. As one of the most beautiful gothic art monuments in Europe, the cathedral attracts over 400 000 visitors annually. The Lausanne Cathedral was built during the XII th and XIII th centuries. Since then, it has been restored a number of times. Today the cathedral has a wonderfully multicolored interior. This unique painting inside the cathedral is visible in the Chapel of the Virgin and on the painted doorway which was completely restored in 2007. The cathedral is open for visitors every day. The most wonderful experiences at the cathedral are the hourly ringing of the cathedral bell and the views of Lausanne from the bell tower.
Hidden Gem – Feel the adventure at Glacier 3000
Glacier 3000 is an Alpine adventure park that is perfect for adrenaline and action lovers. The park is home to a cableway, wonderful alpine architecture and adventure, all within the beautiful Alpine mountain scenery. The summit station at Glacier 3000 was designed by renowned architect Mario Botta. At the top of the cable station one can enjoy the most magnificent alpine views of over 24 snowcapped mountains standing at 4000 meters above sea level including Eiger, Monch, Jungfrau, Grand Combin and Mont Blanc in the distance. The cableway to Glacier 3000 operators daily every 20 minutes. Other attractions at Glacier 3000 include the Tissot peak walk, sledge dogs, snow busses, hiking on the glacier plateau, the Alpine coaster, the climbing park and helicopter glacier flights. There is also the summit restaurant which offers breathtaking views and excellent local cuisine.
Experience a Real-life Postcard
The Vaud region is the perfect destination for nature lovers. The natural environment of the region is made up of a combination of lakes and mountains that are perfect for exploring either by foot or by bike. The outdoors of Vaud offers something for everyone and is one of the most beautiful wine regions in the world.
Lake Geneva – The Lake Where Memories are Made
Lake Geneva is a deep lake located on the northern side of the Alps and shared between France and Switzerland. The lake is a playground of activities for visitors including zip lining, walking and biking trails, spas, strolls on the shores of the land, shopping, dining at award winning restaurants and attending a wide range of events. Throughout the year the lake is a hub of land and water activities that provide hours of enjoyment. For those looking to extend their visit to the Lake and enjoy the beautiful environment for a bit longer, there are a range of accommodation facilities of all types and catering to all travelers. Lake Geneve is arguably the greatest attraction in Vaud and should not be missed by anyone who visits.
Rochers de Naye – The Mountains of the Swiss Alps
The Rochers de Naye is a mountain that forms part of the Swiss Alps, overlooking Lake Geneva in the Vaud region. The mountain sits at 2000 meters above sea level and is the perfect place for hiking and enjoying the local flora and fauna to access the Rochers de Naye there is a railway from Montreux that operates throughout the year. It is believed by the locals that Father Christmas himself lives in these mountains in December! After the train ride and once at the mountain, visitors can enjoy the Alpine garden called the La Rambertia, the local marmot colony and the climbing park at the Naye caves.
Lac de Joux – The Best of Unspoilt Nature in Vaud
To experience the true beauty of Vaud and untouched nature at its best, take a visit to Lac de Joux. Lac de Joux is a lake that is largest body of water in the Jura region. The lake is located at 1000 meters in the Joux Valley. The favourable climate and incredible beauty of the lake attracts thousands of visitors every year. During the summer months visitors come to the lake for water sports, hiking and biking and during the winter months, for ice skating and cross-country skiing. The Lac de Joux is the perfect getaway in any season and a must see when in the Vaud region.
Swiss Flavours at Their Very Best
The local cuisine of Vaud has strong French and German influences as well as influences of the local wine industry. The food of the region is notoriously rich, and it is where many of the most famous Swiss dishes originated from. The local dishes provide a wonderful culinary experience, especially when paired with the excellent local wines.
L’Etivaz – Traditional Cheese from Vaud
L’Etivaz is a Swiss cheese that is produced in the Vaud region. This cheese is made similarly to Gruyere, with raw cow’s milk during the Summer months. The milk is heated in a copper vat over an open wood fire. When some of the ashes fall into the vat, this is left to give the cheese a hint of smokiness when it is eaten. L’Etivaz cheese is extremely fragrant, dense and creamy. The flavours are nutty and fruity with a light hint of smokiness. It is recommended that the cheese is enjoyed with figs, walnuts, pears and a crisp glass of local white wine.
Papet Vaudois – Simple Earthy Dish from Vaud
Papet Vaudois is one of the signature dishes of the Vaud region. It is a delicious, hearty and warming dish made of potatoes and leeks which are cooked for hours until they have a mashy texture. The dish is then flavoured with cream, white wine or vinegar. Traditionally Papet Vaudois is served as a bed for smoked pork sausage but it can also be enjoyed on its own as a bowl of goodness.
Saucisson Vaudais – Traditional Swiss Sausage from Vaud
Saucisson Vaudais is a traditional sausage that originates from the Vaud region. There are many different versions of the sausage, but the most traditional version is made with pork, spices, lard, salt and sugar. To prepare Saucisson Vaudais, the meat is typically dried and smoked. The origins of Saucisson Vaudais dates back to the Middle Ages when the local people needed to smoke and dry their meat for it to keep for longer. Saucisson Vaudais can be eaten hot or cold and is often served with bread and local cheese.
Share about Vaud Wine Region:
Soil: Molasse, limestone and clay soils give the area its diverse terroirs
Climate: Climate of the Vaud wine region is strongly influenced by the lakes, which balances spring frosts and reduces temperature in summer