July 26, 2013


With Evian being so close to the Swiss border, we decided to take a road trip to the city of Lausanne for some lunch and gelatoat Gelateria La Mucca, my favorite of the entire trip. But the best part of our day was spent at Lavaux, a wine region and UNESCO World Heritage Site above Lake Geneva. 
What makes the vineyards so striking is that they are planted on steep hills overlooking the water (the land was supposed to be unsuitable for agriculture, but monks started planting grapes here in the 12th century; some of the winegrowers' families have been here for 17 generations). We took a walk along the premises, which seemed ideal for a romantic stroll or maybe a picnic. But aside from a wedding celebration (which included a dramatic balloon liftoff) there appeared to be few people enjoying the sceneryor the wine.

Eager to sample the local flavors, we looked for a tasting room or something like it. Julien told us, though, that wineries here don't work like thatyou basically just walk into the winemaker's place and see if they offer you something. Seeing no open doors, we were going to give up, but Kayleen braved the awkwardness and knocked on a random locked door that looked anything but welcoming, on the off chance someone would serve us a glass.

So Kayleen knocked and a bemused lady and her dog came out. After asking if we were going to buy anything, she agreed to let us in. It seemed like she didn't know what to do with us. Apparently, most people just show up to pick up a case rather than sit around and drink a bottle.

The winemaker was not home, she said in French. Oh, and they only take cash, she said. That meant there was one bottle we could afford with the 15 Swiss francs we had between the six of us.  But there was no turning back at this point! So we sat in the cellar and sipped the wine, unsure if we were even supposed to be there. Eventually the winemaker did come around. He had to a lot to say. I couldn't understand any of it, but he made us welcome and capped off a winery experience unlike any other.

Lavaux Vineyard Terraces
Lausanne to Montreux, Switzerland

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