Five reasons why Lausanne is perfect for a wine-lover's weekend away
23 July 2019, 10:31
Charming vineyards, a legendary wine festival and breathtaking views of Lake Geneva and the Alps make Lausanne a top wine-tasting holiday destination.
For many, the term ‘wine tourism’ is synonymous with places like Bordeaux, Tuscany and Napa Valley.
While they all produce fabulous wine, less-famous regions can offer equally impressive tasting opportunities, with smaller crowds and more unique experiences.
And one of the most exciting areas is in an unexpected country: Switzerland!
It might seem surprising, but here are five reasons why Lausanne is a MUST for any proper wine enthusiast.
1. Lausanne is a ‘Great Wine Capital’
Francophone Lausanne is the capital of the Vaud canton, which produces a quarter of all Swiss wine. It’s also the latest destination to join the exclusive Great Wine Capitals list, which is made up of ten major global cities with internationally renowned wine regions.
With wine tourism in the region on the rise, you’re never far from an open cellar, harvest festival, or wine tasting.
2. Only 1% of Swiss wine is exported
The joke goes: ‘The Swiss don’t export their wine because they want to keep it to themselves.’ And while it’s certainly true there is a culture of wine appreciation in Switzerland, there’s more to the story.
Grapes are still picked by hand, and the wine’s produced in small batches. There simply isn’t much left over to be exported.
In total, wine makers produced 111 million litres of wine in 2018 and exported only 1.2 million.
Swiss wine is special, partly because it’s so hard to find anywhere else. And because you have to go to where it is, there’s an air of exclusivity around the whole experience.
We suggest trying Lausanne’s star white, Chasselas. It’s crisp, light and easy to drink. Santé!
3. Lausanne is close to Lavaux, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
The breathtaking Lavaux Vineyard Terraces stretch along between the lower slopes of the mountains and the shores of Lake Geneva for about 30 kilometres.
This gorgeous winegrowing region is a UNESCO World Heritage site that’s protected from development. The vine terraces can be traced back to the 11thcentury!
Without a doubt, the best way to explore this area is on foot, stopping in the little villages adorning the routes, and popping into local wineries for tastings along the way. Hiking shoes are suggested, as these are some of the steepest vineyards in the world.
4. A legendary wine festival is taking place this summer - for the first time in 20 years
There’s a one-in-a-generation wine festival currently happening in Vevey, which is a short train ride away from Lausanne, along the coast of Lake Geneva.
The Festival of Winegrowers (Fête des Vignerons) is a unique three-week celebration that pays homage to the world of winemaking and centuries-old wine producing traditions in the region.
It’s the first living Swiss tradition to have been recognised by UNESCO and hasn’t been held since 1999. The Fête is going on until August 11th.
5. The city of Lausanne is Switzerland's largest vineyard owner
Lausanne owns five wineries spread over more than thirty hectors. It’s easy to reach these estates from the city centre as all guests who stay in hotels receive a Lausanne Transport Card, which gives you free use of all public transport in the city.
Additionally all the varieties can be tasted in the restaurants, cellars or in one of the many wine bars in the town. Mövenpick is a chic and easy to get to wine bar, not far from the train station.
For lunch, Café de Grancy is a favourite with locals, and the veal-tartare with truffle oil is one of their most popular dishes for a reason.
The moitié-moitié fondue at Pinte Besson, the oldest pub in Lausanne, is a must try for cheese lovers and pair perfectly with the local white varieties.
In the evening, head to the trendy Flon District which is popular with residents and tourists alike. It’s a compact quarter with clubs, bars and restaurants. Drinks on one of the rooftop terraces is a must.
To find out more about Lausanne and wine tourism in the region, visit www.lausanne-tourisme.ch.