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A Special Winegrowers Festival in Switzerland

Switzerland is not particularly well known for winemaking. Perhaps one reason may be that most of the Swiss wine is enjoyed within the country rather than being exported outside of the country. Smaller vineyard acreage is also undoubtedly a reason.

Wine enthusiasts might enjoy discovering the Fête des Vignerons, a celebration of winegrowers in Switzerland, that occurs only once every generation or about every 20 years. The most recent festival was in 1999. The next festival takes place this summer in 2019 over a three week period. This year the Fête des Vignerons runs from July 18 to August 11. Tickets for the Fête des Vignerons are available online.

According to the Fête des Vignerons’ website, this special festival “is the first living Swiss tradition to have been recognized by UNESCO.” In 2016 the Fête des Vignerons was added to UNESCO’s  Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The festival dates back to 1797. 

Events at the Fête des Vignerons include a large show which has 20 scenes and represents the many aspects of the vineyard life. During the show a coronation of the most excellent winegrowers takes place. These winegrowers are chosen by the Confrérie des Vignerons (Brotherhood of Winegrowers.)

Thousands of actresses and actors take part in the show. All of them live locally. Imagine the excitement for the people of Vevey as they prepare for a large event that takes place only once every 20 years.

Fête des Vignerons takes place in the town of Vevey which is located in the Lavaux wine region of Switzerland. The Lavaux wine region is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The main grape variety growing in this region is Chasselas, a white grape.

If you will be visiting Switzerland this summer, try to attend the Fête des Vignerons; or if visiting Switzerland anytime be sure to discover the Swiss wines including Chasselas.


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