Day 191: Lavaux Wine TerracesAugust 24, 2017 in Switzerland
Time for the next world heritage site! Much easier day of travel today, as we were visiting the Lavaux Wine Terraces, a wine-growing area on the slopes of Lake Geneva, about 20 minutes drive outside of Lausanne.
In the car around 10am, a nice easy drive along the lake foreshore to where we started our day at Vinorama. This was a small exhibition centre and wine-tasting area right on the shores of the lake. We skipped watching the educational film and of course proceeded to tasting the wines - only a couple though since you had to pay (this is usual outside of Australia), and of course I was driving.
After an hour or so of slow tasting we went for a walk up into the terraces around the centre. Essentially, Switzerland is usually too cold for grape-growing, but in this area on the northern slopes of the lake they get sunlight all day, plus reflected sunlight from the lake surface, and the stone retaining walls built into the sides of the hills over the last thousand years absorb the warmth of the day and then radiate heat over night. Thus the grapes grow quite quickly, and can be harvested before the long winter.
It's been a wine-growing region for a long time - there's evidence the Romans grew grapes here, but most of the current terraces date from the 10th and 11th centuries when monks started wine-making as a crop. It's just so picturesque, with the wine terraces scaling against the hills, the huge blue lake, and towering peaks on the far side. We had a great walk up into the hills to a panorama, then back down again.
The terraces are spread out for about 15 kilometres along the lake shore, so we drove along to various spots and stopped at whatever looked interesting. Lunchtime rolled around and we quickly visited a supermarket in the nearby city of Montreux to pick up some bread and cheese. We found another vantage point and ate in the car while enjoying the view as a thunderstorm rolled by.
Once the rain cleared up we looked around further, tasted some more wines at another winery and then headed back to Lausanne around 5pm. Another home-cooked dinner of spaghetti and pesto, and another good chat with our host who is very friendly and very accommodating of Schnitzel. It'll be a shame to move on tomorrow!Read more