Lausanne, the main town of the winemaking Swiss canton of Vaud, which hosts the International Olympic Committee and what is considered the best hospitality management school in the world, has recently joined the Great Wine Capitals Global Network.
Vaud is the second-largest wine-producing region of Switzerland, and its Lavaux vineyards, stretching from Lausanne to Montreux along the shores of Lake Geneva, are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most extraordinary wine landscapes in the world. The wines of Vaud are prominently white, and this is one of the few places where the Chasselas grape, which accounts for ca. 70% of total production, can make wines of real distinction. Good Pinot Gris and Chardonnay can also be found, and for reds, quite a few interesting Gamays. A strong drive towards quality and terroir-specific wines has resulted in the creation of eight appellations of origin as well as a number of Crus.
Quantities as usual for this country are rather small, and most of the wine is consumed nationally or even locally. Not surprisingly, in this corner of Switzerland combining natural beauty, cultural heritage and of course oenological exploration, wine tourism has become very popular.
The Great Wine Capitals Global Network is a group of ten cities around the world linked to globally renowned wine regions. Its focus is to promote travel, education and business exchanges through projects, initiatives and programs, notably the ‘Best Of Wine Tourism’ awards, which recognize wineries and wine tourism related business for their contribution to the promotion of their city and region.
The other member cities (and related wine regions) are Adelaide (South Australia), Bilbao (Rioja, Spain), Bordeaux (France), Mainz (Rheinhessen, Germany), Mendoza (Argentina), Porto (Portugal), San Francisco (Napa Valley, US), Valparaìso (Casablanca Valley, Chile) and Verona (Veneto wines, among them Amarone della Valpolicella).