Lavaux Vineyard Terraces: A UNESCO World Heritage Site in Switzerland

The Lavaux Vineyard Terraces is a UNESCO’s World Heritage Site located from the Chateau de Chillon to the eastern outskirts of Lausanne. Till I time I visited Switzerland, I didn’t even know about Swiss Wine, leave alone these iconic wine yards. It was not my first visit to a wine yard and I have visited the famous Napa Valley in the California’s Bay Area, Yara Valley in Australia as well as our vineyards Nahik in Maharashtra. However, Lavaux Vineyards are unlike any other. 

Spread over 700 hectares, the Vineyard is a must visit for a wine lover. In fact, it would be a crime for a wine lover to visit Switzerland and not spend at least a day at Lavaux. 99% of the wine produced at Lavaux is consumed in Switzerland so if you want to try this wine, you need to make a visit to these historical vineyards.

History of Lavaux Vineyard Terraces 

There is a very interesting history about these vineyards. It is believed that wine was first cultivated by the Romans during the Roman times, though the oldest written testimonials comes from the 9th Century. From the 12th Century onwards, many abbeys came up in the area and these vineyards were developed by the monks who lived in these abbeys.

The region has fought hard to retain the exclusivity of the wine produced here, which also ensures that the wine produced here is also the best possible wine that can be made. There have been multiple 'Save Lavaux' campaigns which have ensured that the region retains it's pristine beauty and makes great wine!

Lavaux Vineyard Terraces Switzerland
The vineyard and beautiful houses - with Lake Geneva and Alps!
Lavaux Vineyard Terraces Switzerland lake geneva
Lake Geneva seen from top

Lunch at the Vineyard

We had some great food at Auberge de La Crochettaz, enjoying the view of the lake and sitting right in the middle of vineyards. I had Filets des Perche, which is a famous small fish from Lake Geneva, and I totally loved it! I was also introduced to a non-alcoholic and very Swiss drink called  Rivella, which I first thought of as Apple juice. It was quite a shock when I was told that it was actually made from Cow’s milk, primarily milk serum.

My new friend and food expert Deeba (read more about Deeba here) was in deep shock after she learnt about the milk connection and refused to take even one one more sip from her glass, and I happily came in like a knight in shining armour and offered to finish off her glass of Rivella. My other travel companion Rachit (read more about Rachit here) had already named it 'Cow's juice' which was enough to put off everyone else in the restaurant as well, but I didn't mind it at all :)

Auberge de La Crochettaz is also the only restaurant in the region which serves both Swiss and Indian food. In case you are missing India while you are in Switzerland, do try out their Indian cuisine. We tried out the pakodas, and they were not bad at all.

Lavaux Vineyard Terraces Switzerland perche fish food
My yum lunch!

Wine tasting at Lavaux Vineyard Terraces

Later when we were in the Vineyard, Deeba and I decided to walk in one of the old towns, famous for making their own wine. We didn’t really have a plan or a destination in mind and actually stumbled upon this tiny, lovely place called 'Caveau Bar' which was also a ‘Centre de degustation’ for sampling some exclusive local wine.

At different times of the year, there is a different winemaker who will be at the bar and will help you samples the tastes. We were received by Louis Fonjallaz who makes his own wine called ‘Fonjallaz Wine’ and was here only for a week. He belongs to the nineteenth generation of the Fonjallaz family and learnt the art just like everyone else in the family - starting as a apprentice and then growing up the chain.

Lavaux Vineyard Terraces Switzerland wine tasting
The Wine seller's shop from outside 

Lavaux Vineyard Terraces Switzerland wine tasting
That's Deeba and Me enjoying our last glass of wine :)
Lavaux Vineyard Terraces Switzerland wine tasting
Our wine glasses :)
Lavaux Vineyard Terraces Switzerland wine tasting
The place from inside was also quite inviting...

Based on Louis’s recommendation we sampled three different wines. The first was a white wine called Epesses AOC, followed by another white wine called Dezealey Grand Cru and ending it with a red wine called Pinot Noir Epesses. I was most impressed with the white wines and picked up both of them for taking back to India. Louis told us quite a bit more about why wine is so special in Lavaux and the grapes play a very important role in this.

The most common variety of grape is called Chasselas and the topography of the region makes it unique. The vineyard here are on the steep incline of almost 45 degrees with Lake Geneva on one side and sun on top. The walls built by the monks around the vineyard trap heat. All of these factors give a unique flavor to the grapes which makes the wine made here both exclusive and exquisite.

Here is the address of the 'Centre de Degustation'.

Caveau Bar
Ruelle du Vieux Bourg 2 (Alley in the Old Town 2)
1098 Epesses
Tel. +41 (0)79 378 42 49

A Stroll in the village

Happy and a little high from the awesome wine, we decided to take a stroll in the village. A visit to the area was absolutely incomplete without actually walking though one of the vineyard itself. It was still a little early for picking of grapes, so all we saw were grapes getting ripened to be picked next month (September).

Lavaux Vineyard Terraces Switzerland wine tasting
The vineyard with Alps in the background 
Lavaux Vineyard Terraces Switzerland wine tasting
The famous steep incline!

Lavaux Vineyard Terraces Switzerland wine tasting
Some more vineyard with lovely homes
Black Chassela Grapes
And the more common Green Chassela Grapes

The houses were old and unanimously stunning to look at. I would certainly be doing another story on the doors and windows of Lavaux, for now enjoy these images. Do not miss the subtle yet colourful facades and the extremely clean lanes. There were almost no cars here, only a few bicycles and even fewer pedestrians. As I walked into tiny lanes, the afternoon became even quieter and I could sit in peace and take notes about the place.

Lavaux Vineyard Terraces Switzerland wine tasting
I love these colors!
Lavaux Vineyard Terraces Switzerland wine tasting
Man with a bicycle 
Lavaux Vineyard Terraces Switzerland wine tasting
How could I not jump: :P
Lavaux Vineyard Terraces Switzerland wine tasting lake geneva
A lane leading towards the vineyard

To reach

By road: The Lavaux Vineyard Terraces are reachable by driving from the towns of Vevey and Montreux by a drive along the gorgeous Swiss Rivera.
By Train: The vineyard is also reachable by trains and the best train for travellers is RER / S1 which has a hourly departure.
By bus: The third option is to take a bus to Lavaux from Vevey or Montreux.

If you are in Switzerland, you can also take a Swiss Pass which is one pass which allows you travel through bus, train and waterways, and is the most affordable way to explore the country.


Note: I was in Switzerland on invitation of Switzerland Tourism and NDTV Good Times to explore the 'Swiss Made Grand Tour'  The story shared here is based on personal experiences and all the views shared are completely unbiased.


  1. The Lavaux Vineyards look amazing Siddhartha, your images and words transported me all the way there from Perth :) merci beaucoup!

  2. Uhmmm! Am actually sipping it slowly..the beautiful photos and the details....just like a good wine...loved this post Sid! Btw thanks for introducing Deeba and Rachit.

    1. Haha..thanks Shilpa! It was a charming experience for me. Deeba is a rock-star and Rachit is cool too :)

  3. Lovely views from Switzerland. It's a country with many beautiful locations, from mountain ranges to small villages. I have enjoyed your tour a lot.

    Mersad Donko Photography

    1. Thanks a lot Mersad! Next I would love to visit your country :)

  4. Hari OM
    I love Switzerland and you surely saw it at its best!!! Rivella is made of whey... these folk don't drink chaas in India? Not so different! YAM xx

    1. We all do drink chaas...and I love them both :) I think people were just too surprised by the ingredients...


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