History of Lavaux

The history of Lavaux, one of the most beautiful regions of Switzerland, is ancient, rich and naturally linked to wine production.

Included on the World Heritage List in 2007, Lavaux is a cultural place, carved by nature and shaped by man.

Formed during the last Ice Age (13000 BC), when the Rhone glacier retreated, the Lavaux landscape could not be farmed by the first inhabitants of the lemanic basin. Lausanne's bishops, owner of the plots of land in Lavaux, gradually built the terraces since the 11th century. Part of the countryside, many walls were built in the 12th Century by Cistercian monks. Bit by bit they handed over the work of the looking after the vines to wine growers. Poorly paid, the latter were forced to raise cattle on the high levels of Lavaux to top up their income. This combination of agriculture and viniculture explains the commune’s long narrow plots of land.

Some of the first vineyard’s descendants still work today in the Lavaux vineyards. Their legacy and heritage are still alive today, well protected by UNESCO.

  • History of Lavaux
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