Switzerland’s Fête Des Vignerons Returns After 20 Years

Switzerland’s Fête Des Vignerons Returns After 20 Years
A wide selection of local wines is available for the festival attendees (representative image), Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Centuries old Swiss winegrowers festival, Fête des Vignerons, is scheduled to be celebrated this July

Titash Basu
July 12 , 2019
05 Min Read

In the canton of Vaud, nestled along Lake Geneva is the small Swiss town of Vevey. From July 18, 2019, the town will temporarily take on the role of the Swiss capital and play host to thousands of oenophiles from across the world. The cause?  The twelfth edition of the Fête des Vignerons (Festival of Winegrowers).

Founded in 1797, this festival has a long history. It was started by the Confrérie des Vignerons, or Brotherhood of Winegrowers, to promote the region’s wine harvest. The festival aims to “represent the era we live in now” by involving the local community in its organisation. Around the 1770s, it aimed to encourage perfectionism in winemaking and showcase local winegrowers in an annual parade. Then in 1797, the association’s president decided to reward the best winegrowers in a public ceremony, which became the very first Fête des Vignerons. Since then the festival has been held in Vevey every 20 years except during times of war or turmoil with the last. Over centuries, the winegrowers’ festival has evolved from a one-day feast into 21-day spectacle with tastings, live music, parades, costume parties, wine education, and cellar tours.

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. - RÉPÉTITIONS - : Ils sont 12 «HABILLÉS ». Rois Reines et Valets vont danser et chanter durant le spectacle. ♠ï¸Â♦ï¸Â♣ï¸Â♥ï¸Â : Crédit: Fête des Vignerons 2019 | Richard Juilliart . . #fevi2019 #fevi #lacapite #lespectacle #vevey

A post shared by Fête des Vignerons 2019 (@fetedesvignerons) on Jul 10, 2019 at 7:01am PDT

At each festival the best performing winegrowers are ‘crowned’. The crowns for this occasion have been made by a local forge in the winegrowing village of Chexbres, located amid the vineyards of Lavaux. Following the coronation will be a debut theatrical performance by noted playwright Daniele Finzi Pasca. Featuring local actors and actresses, singers and musicians, this is the centrepiece of the festival and tells the story of a vineyard through the seasons. This edition of the festival will have a special show, “Cent pour Cent”, with 100 men and women donning the Swiss guard uniforms to celebrate gender equality.

Due to the event’s immense popularity in 1999, UNESCO has recognised it, including it in UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage, calling it a ‘living tradition’.

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. - TERRASSES DE LA CONFRÉRIE - Les Terrasses sont ouvertes ! 🎉 Construites dans le prolongement de l’arène face au Lac Léman et aux Alpes, les Terrasses de la Confrérie vous accueillent dès aujourd’hui ! Au menu : découverte des produits de nos régions, petits déjeuners, apéritifs, cocktails, et moments de détente entre amis et familles. 😋 Les Terrasses sont ouvertes au public du dimanche au jeudi de 09h00 à 01h00 et du vendredi au samedi de 09h00 à 03h00. Plus d'informations sur notre site. 📲 . . Crédits : @lookaphoto . . #fevi2019 #fêtedesvignerons #vevey #vaud #suisse #switzerland #spectacle #terrassesdelaconfrérie #ouverture

A post shared by Fête des Vignerons 2019 (@fetedesvignerons) on May 20, 2019 at 8:02am PDT

A massive 20,000 seat auditorium has been newly constructed on the Place du Marché, to accommodate spectators. But the arena nevertheless is built to be an intimate space, with large screens helping to bring visitors closer to the scene of action.

Next to the arena, visitants can relax at the reception area, which includes a wine bar, cheese buffet and a cocktail lounge, all along a terrace from where you can take in the breath-taking vistas of Lake Geneva and the surrounding Alps.

Across Vevey multiple pop-up restaurants have sprung and promise to showcase regional Vaudois culinary delights to go with the wine.

A new tradition has been introduced this year whence each day of the festival will be dedicated to a different Swiss canton, with delegations from each of the 26 cantons representing their unique cultural and winegrowing practices. 

Guests had to pay one franc each to get a seat at the very first festival which was equal to a day’s wage of a winegrower during the 17th century. The tickets for this year’s festival range from 79 francs to 299 francs.

The spirit of revelry tipsy with wine pervades the entire festival.

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