Homearrow_forward_iosPortraits of women winemakersarrow_forward_iosCully: a pocket vineyard and superb bottles

Cully: a pocket vineyard and superb bottles

Mélanie Weber manages her wine estate almost single-handedly. Her production, as well as her labels, are both original and personal.

A one-woman operation.
Mélanie Weber's house is located in the heart of the old town of Cully, just opposite the church. It has an undeniable historical charm, but does not instantly evoke a winery - rather an old hat shop, a colonial grocery shop or a tailor shop. It's impossible not to see the inscription "Mélanie Weber Vigneronne" on the façade. Mélanie is watching us on the small balcony at the very top, under the roof. It almost looks like a Black Forest cuckoo clock. Yes, Melanie is proud to run her winery largely as a one-woman business. She also shows this by her membership of "Artisanes du Vin Suisse", an association of Swiss women winemakers.

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Out of time: The wine estate of Mélanie Weber is located in the heart of the old town of Cully.

A museum in place of a wine cellar.
Mélanie's family has been rooted here for five generations. Her great-great-grandfather, a railway worker from German-speaking Switzerland, stayed here. And when a Mademoiselle Bovard got married, her dowry consisted of vineyards! So we are first very surprised to hear Mélanie speak Serbian with an employee... and then we learn that she gets it from her mother, who is originally from the Balkans.  In her house, Melanie processes the entire harvest from her two hectares. The space is limited, the instruments are largely historical. In particular, an old wicker press that bears the imprint of past decades. This has obviously not had a negative influence on the quality of the wine, quite the contrary. In addition to the 15,000 bottles that Mélanie produces each year, she farms two hectares of land on behalf of the municipal vineyard of Cully. A business model that is widespread in the canton of Vaud; "Vigneronne-Tâcheronne" is what Mélanie calls herself in this context.


Time for a chat.
Mélanie grew up in Cully, she knows everyone. This is obvious when you sit down with her at the "Café de la Poste". "Here, young and old still rub shoulders, everyone knows each other. That doesn't happen very often anymore. I hope it stays that way. The pub is on the roadside, there is a bit of traffic, but that doesn't matter. On the other hand, there's always something going on. For example, an elderly woman holding a small bouquet of tulips in her hand. She gleaned it from a garden and readily admits it. Everything is close in Cully. Mélanie makes all her journeys on foot, even to go to the vineyards. Jean-François Martin's bakery is next to her house. A discreet place, but all the bakery products are made on the spot - that's obvious. Generally speaking, gourmets are well served in Cully, and not only in the restaurants. One example is the "Pêcherie de Lavaux", which guarantees fresh fish. Even the big cities of the Swiss plateau can only dream of such a thing.
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Historic instruments at Mélanie's: the old wicker wine press is immediately obvious.

Sea spray in the bottle.
Mélanie Weber's wines are of course also part of the Lavaux landscape of pleasures. The range of grape varieties is quite classic with Chasselas (Epesses, Calamin, Dézaley), Chardonnay, Gamay and Merlot. Mélanie has had paintings made especially for three of her wines. They are glued on the bottle in place of the label, without any commentary; all the necessary information appears on the back label. The choice of names for the different products is also original. Often they have something to do with the nearby lake. "Entre 2 digues" is the name of a pinot noir and gamay wine. "L'Ecume du Léman", the spray from Lake Geneva, is aptly named for a sparkling wine made from Chardonnay. A Gamay is called "Les Matelots". There is more to it than meets the eye. "First of all, of course, it means 'the sailors'. But it also hides the names of my two children: Matilde and Léo".

Original text in German:
Stephan Thomas for Gault & Millau