History and geography
The Lavaux landscape was formed during the last ice age (13,000 years BC). The moraines left by the Rhone glaciers carved out the steep hills, which were subsequently covered by vegetation.
The sharp drop of the hillsides (from 15 to 100%) made the terrain unsuitable for agriculture. Nevertheless, from the XIIth century, following the gift given by the King of Burgundy to the Bishop of Lausanne, several convents began to clear the hills and cultivate vineyards. It was the start of the winegrowing era…They went on to build walls and create a system of terraces in order to support and flatten the terrain.
Then, the orders (monks and nuns) delegated this cultivation to lay people, who maintained the plants and walls. Thus, some of today’s winegrowers are direct descendants of the first winegrowers, perpetuating their love of the vineyards for over 17 generations.
On 28 June 2007, Lavaux was officially registered as one of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. Fashioned over the ages by man’s cultivation, this landscape is composed of terraced vineyards and typical villages, which have enabled Lavaux to be considered as a site of universal interest.