The season of open wine cellars has begun in French-speaking Switzerland! I visited the Caves de la Ville in Neuchâtel during the caves ouvertes last month and sampled some Pinot Noir, Perdrix Blanche and Oeil-de-Perdrix. These open wine cellar events give you the opportunity to sample Swiss wine in the place where it’s made, and you can ask questions directly of the wine producers. If you like what you taste, then you can purchase some to take home, by the bottle or by the case.
While the caves ouvertes have already taken place in the cantons of Neuchâtel and Valais, don’t worry — you still have time to attend other events like these in Suisse Romande this month, such as the following:
- Caves Ouvertes du Vully: May 13-15 — For three days, 24 vignerons near Lac de Morat/Murtensee will be open for visitors and wine tastings. I visited this area last year when I participated in the VullyRun. While you’re there, I highly recommend you sample the yeasted Gâteau du Vully, either the savory or sweet versions (or both!).
- Caves Ouvertes Vaud: May 14-15 — During the caves ouvertes in Vaud, you’ll have over 300 different wine cellars to choose from within six different wine-producing regions, including Bonvillars, Chablais, Côtes de l’Orbe, la Côte, Lavaux and Vully. For this event, you purchase a “passport” for CHF 20, which includes a souvenir glass to use at the various locations. In addition, SBB/CFF is offering a 20 percent RailAway discount for train travel to and from destinations associated with this event. (For some background info about these locations, check out my posts about springtime hiking in Lavaux and the Semi-marathon de Côtes de l’Orbe).
- Caves Ouvertes en Ville: May 20-21 — The wine cellar maintained by the City of Lausanne will be open for visitors. Les Vins de Lausanne is located at the Carnotzet de la Municipalité. The event is part of the calendar of culinary events hosted by Lausanne à Table.
- Schafiser/Chavannes Wyprob: May 21-22 — The small bilingual village of Shafis/Chavannes (German/French) along Lake Biel/Bienne will have five open wine cellars. You can purchase a tasting glass for CHF 15 at the event, which will also feature musical performances, fried freshwater fish and other local culinary specialties.
- Caves Ouvertes Genève: May 28 — Nearly 90 wine cellars will open their doors on one day from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. — Saturday, May 28. The event is free, but certain wine cellars will be selling a souvenir glass for CHF 5. Free shuttles will be provided.
- Cantine Aperte: May 28-29 — In Switzerland’s Italian-speaking canton of Ticino, you can also take advantage of caves ouvertes during the last weekend of May. Altogether, there will be 68 participating wine cellars over the course of two days. Check out the full program, which lists the four regions included in this event: Mendrisiotto, Locarnese, Luganese/Malcantone and Bellinzonese/Valli.
Have you already attended an open wine cellar event in Switzerland this season? Will you be visiting any of the winegrowing regions listed above this month? Please share your experiences and advice by leaving a comment below or send me an email. Many thanks!