Swiss Wine Spectacle: The Winegrowers Festival; Everett Potter; Forbes


Switzerland – Lavaux, Vineyard Terraces

In the summer of 1999, I sat along the shores of Lake Geneva in the bucolic Swiss city of Vevey — along with a couple of thousand other spectators — and watched a spectacle that celebrated the glories of wine. This was no ordinary bacchanal but the Fête des Vignerons, the Winegrowers’ Festival, which is held approximately once every 20 years or so.

It’s produced and performed once in a generation by the city residents of Vevey and the surrounding vineyard communities along the shores of Lake Geneva, with the French Alps as backdrop, an extraordinary social event that brings together a literal cast of thousands featuring local amateur actors, singers, and dancers. The original one was held in 1797 and it is organized by the Confrérie des Vignerons (the Brotherhood of Winegrowers), which dates back to medieval times.

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