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The Swiss Lavaux region: A votre sante!

Chexbres, in the Lavaux region of Switzerland
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Chexbres, in the Lavaux region of Switzerland

In the 11th century, Benedictine and Cistercian monks began planting vines and building retaining walls on the steep sun-drenched hillsides of the Lavaux region on the north shore of Lake Geneva. Today’s nearly 2000 acres of terraces in French-speaking southwest is Switzerland’s major wine-producing region and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Chasselas grapes in the Lavaux region of Switzerland
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Chasselas grapes in the Lavaux region of Switzerland

Some of today’s winegrowers are 17th generation descendants of the lay people to whom the work was delegated. This breathtaking landscape between Lausanne and Montreux is a gourmet ‘s delight and a perennial magnet for poets and painters.

Lavaux winery
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Chexbres winery

“The land of three suns” is sun-drenched from the sky, the reflecting lake, and the stone walls that release stored heat when temperatures drop. The steep slopes need a deep rooted grape like the Chassalas that comprises 90% of its foremost vintage, Dézaley.

Dézaley wine, Lavaux Vinorama, Rivaz, Switzerland
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Dézaley wine, Lavaux Vinorama, Rivaz, Switzerland

Hiking and cycling trails with scenic picnic areas run right through the lush, green vineyards. The Lavaux-Express or yellow Train des Vignes let you sit back and enjoy the scenic ride.

Le Train des Vignes in the Lavaux region of Switzerland
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Le Train des Vignes in the Lavaux region of Switzerland

Lake Geneva boats connect towns in Switzerland and France, and the classic Belle Epoque paddlewheeler  Savoie offers Michelin-starred cuisine with the view.

boating on Lake Geneva, lavaux region of Switzerland
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boating on Lake Geneva, lavaux region of Switzerland

We drank in the scenery as we sampled regional wines with local specialties like lake perch and char, papet vaudois,  (leek and cabbage sausage), gateau á la raisinée, (fruity cake) and chocolate.

Lake Geneva perch, Switzerland
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Lake Geneva perch, Switzerland

We stopped in villages like Onnens, where a lunch of hot cabbage, sausage and rosti at Au Bon Vin included the proprietor and waiter, Herr Kunst’s rendition of Ain’t She Sweet as he played his vintage recording.

Au Bon Vins, Onnens
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Au Bon Vins, Onnens

We sampled wines like Cuvée Amandine, delicious with chocolate, at Vignoble Cousin in Concise.

Vignoble Cousin in Concise
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Vignoble Cousin in Concise

For the widest selection of area wines—over 300– we stopped at Lavaux Vinorama, where local winemakers rent cubicles. The proprietor selects eight wines for tastings, or you can try the  Enomatic machine that dispenses samples.

Vinorama, Rivaz, Switzerland
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Vinorama, Rivaz, Switzerland

Villette La Combe wine, Lavaux Vinorama, Rivaz, Switzerland
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Villette La Combe wine, Lavaux Vinorama, Rivaz, Switzerland

St. Saphorin wine, Lavaux Vinorama, Rivaz, Switzerland
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St. Saphorin wine, Lavaux Vinorama, Rivaz, Switzerland

Lutry wine, Lavaux Vinorama, Rivaz, Switzerland
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Lutry wine, Lavaux Vinorama, Rivaz, Switzerland

Dezelay wine in the Lavaux region
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Médinette, a Dezelay wine in the Lavaux region

Courseboux wine, Lavaux Vinorama, Rivaz, Switzerland
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Courseboux wine, Lavaux Vinorama, Rivaz, Switzerland

Mortreux wine, Lavaux Vinorama, Rivaz, Switzerland
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Mortreux wine, Lavaux Vinorama, Rivaz, Switzerland

The night was spent at the Hotel Prealpina in picturesque Chexbres. To one side we overlooked the vineyards, villages, and lake from high atop the hill.

Lake Geneva, Switzerland
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Lake Geneva from the Hotel Prealpina, Switzerland

Lavaux village
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Lavaux village

As the sun went down we had a beautiful view of sunset to the other side.

Chexbres sunset, in the Lavaux region of Switzerland
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Chexbres sunset, in the Lavaux region of Switzerland

Chexbres sunset, in the Lavaux region of Switzerland
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Chexbres sunset, in the Lavaux region of Switzerland

 

 

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