My perfect day in the Lavaux vineyards
For sheer perfection, abandon the car and use a combination of a short boat ride (check timings at www. cgn.ch), a bit of a walk and a bus to get back to base in the evening. (If you prefer to drive, start in Rivaz, drive to Epesses and finish in Cully.) Start in Cully for the short boat trip to Rivaz – just time enough to lean back and gape at the Lavaux vineyards stacked steeply up to the skyline. On arrival in Rivaz, walk up (five minutes) to Domaine Chappuis in the village where Christophe Chappuis makes superlative Chasselas, as well as fine red blends. From here, take off on the well-marked walking trail up to the village of Epesses, a 45-minute walk through some of the world’s most spectacular terraced vineyards.
In Epesses, it’s time to settle down for a leisurely lunch at the aptly named Auberge du Vigneron
( www.aubergeduvigneron.ch/) a favourite haunt of wine-growers with a selection of seasonal dishes chalked up on the blackboard – with luck you can sit on the terrace high above the vineyards looking down on the lake. At 3pm the wine bar-deli Les 11 Terres ( www.11terres.ch) opens – owned by 11 of the village’s wine-growers (including top talents Blaise Duboux and Luc Massy), it’s the place to taste a selection of their wines and stock up on local cheese and cured meats.
Walk back down to Cully (about 15 minutes) or catch the PostBus (check timings at www.cff.ch) and check in at the Auberge du Raisin, where you can feast on traditional Swiss dishes, lake fish fresh from tthe local fisherman, Monsieur Monbaron, or grilled meats from the rotisserie and a wine list studded with Lavaux’s best.