LAUSANNE – The Royal Savoy Hotel & Spa in Lausanne is letting guests in on one of Switzerland’s best-kept secrets: the country’s delicious wines. Very little of Swiss wine is exported, so a trip to Switzerland is key to experiencing it. The Royal Savoy now offers a “Vintage Lavaux” package built around tasting the renowned Chasselas, Pinot Noir and Gamay wines grown in the region.
The offering is particularly timely as the area gears up to celebrate Fête des Vignerons in the nearby town of Vevey. First celebrated in 1797 and last held in 1999, this once-in-a-generation festival commemorates local viticultural traditions that have existed since the days of the Roman Empire. It is an open-air spectacle featuring performances by 1,200 singers and musicians as well as 5,500 costumed actors who are all residents of the area. This year, Fête des Vignerons takes place between July 18 and August 11. Noted Swiss theatre and opera director Daniele Finzi Pasca, who directed Cirque du Soleil’s Corteo and also created the closing ceremonies of the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi (2014) and Turin (2006), is mounting the pageant. The festival is expected to attract 20,000 spectators to each of its 20 performances. In addition to the spectacle, Vevey will welcome lively street performances. Bars, wine cellars, and restaurants will open their doors while 60 food and beverage stands offer local wine and culinary specialties from the Vaud region.
Swiss Wine in UNESCO World Heritage Lavaux Vineyards
While grapes have been growing in the Lavaux region since Roman times, it was not until the 11th century that the unique terraced vineyards appeared thanks to Benedictine and Cistercian monks. It was this unique agricultural technique that earned the vineyards their status as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2007. Stretching 20 kilometers along the northern shores of Lake Geneva are 830 hectares of vineyards. Some of the steepest vineyards in the world sit at 350 meters above the lake. Winemakers attribute the Mediterranean character of the wines to the southern aspect of the terraces, which benefit from the sun reflecting off the lake and the stone walls as well as to the almost year-round temperate climate.
White wines from Lavaux are dominated by the Chasselas grape, while the red are Pinot Noir and Gamay grapes. There are three appellations in Lavaux, with Lavaux AOC having eight sites of production. The flagship appellation of Lavaux is Dézaley AOC, which, along with Calamin AOC, is the only Grand Cru appellation.
The Royal Savoy Hotel & Spa Lausanne’s Vintage Lavaux package features an excursion to a local vineyard in the Lavaux, a UNESCO World Heritage site overlooking Lake Geneva, and includes a picnic lunch with the winemaker followed by a red wine and chocolate pairing. The one-night package starts at USD1,255 for two people. The Vintage Lavaux program will be available year round on a daily basis. The package includes accommodations in a Deluxe Room with a complimentary upgrade to a Lakeview room; daily breakfast in the Brasserie du Royal; a private chauffeur-driven excursion to a winery in the Lavaux vineyards; lunch with the winemaker; a three-course wine-pairing dinner by Michelin-starred Chef Marc Haeberlin at the hotel; a half bottle of wine in the room upon arrival; free Wi-fi; unlimited access to the Spa du Royal including pools, steam rooms, saunas, Jacuzzi and ice fountain; Nespresso machine, VAT and a Lausanne Transport Card. The package must be booked a minimum of three days before arrival. The price will be higher on Sundays and during harvest season.