Fête des Vignerons

Switzerland’s vintage wine festival, Fête des Vignerons, returns for the first time this century

Since 1797 people have travelled far and wide to the town of Vevey in west Switzerland to attend the once in a generation winegrowers’ festival, Fête des Vignerons. Occurring just five times a century, and earning a place on UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage, Fête des Vignerons is an unmissable experience. 

This year marks the 12th edition, paying tribute to the region’s viticultural traditions and honouring the winegrowers’ hard work. Read on to find out more about this Swiss wine festival, when to go and where to stay. 

1995 arene photo first night © Confrérie des Vignerons

Couronnement de la Fête des Vignerons de 1999. Groupement des photographes veveysans © Confrérie des Vignerons.

Founded by the Brotherhood of Winegrowers

Around 1770, a group of local landowners known as the Brotherhood of Winegrowers, today the Confrérie des Vignerons, decided to acknowledge the work of the best winegrowers in the region. In 1797 they were honoured in a procession in Vevey’s market square Place du Marche, before 2,000 spectators. Now 222 years on and 11 events later, the Confrérie des Vignerons have created their 12th festival, where it’s estimated an impressive 20,000 spectators will gather to witness the event.

When and where does Fête des Vignerons take place?

Commencing on the 18th July and drawing to a close on the 11th August, there’s plenty of time to visit Fête des Vignerons. And with the next event not due till at least 2035, this is the perfect opportunity to visit. The unique spectacle takes place in an open-air arena in Vevy’s market square, boasting incredible views of the Swiss Alps and UNESCO-inscribed vineyards of Lavaux. Home to some of the steepest vineyards in the world, with the easiest way to transport large quantities of grapes being via helicopter, it comes as no surprise that the vintners and viticultural traditions are celebrated here.

What happens at the festival?

The daily performances across the three weeks will tell the captivating story of a year in the life of the vineyards, seeing thousands of contributors dressed in elaborate costumes eagerly waiting to perform. From acting and dancing to live music and poetry recitals, the atmosphere in the arena is electric, bringing generations together to celebrate the winegrowing festivities. Like the first event, at the heart of the festival is a crowning ceremony where the region’s best winegrowers and labourers are rewarded for their hard work. Among the winners from the last crowning in 1999 are Raymond Favez, named ‘king of pruning’, Gaston Butty and Jean-Daniel Crausaz. 

Reine de raisin, Roi et Reine de Feuille, Roi et Reine de Flocons au milieu des Étourneaux. Céline Michel © Fête des Vignerons

Oriflammes – Julie Masson © Fête des Vignerons

Where to stay

Located far enough from the joyous crowds at Fête des Vignerons when in need of some peace and quiet, but close enough to be able to join the festivities in just 15 minutes, Fairmont Le Montreux Palace is the perfect lakeside bolthole. Boasting grand chandeliers and balcony views over the glistening water of Lake Geneva and the Swiss Alps, this place is something special. 

Beau-Rivage Palace in Lausanne offers elegant rooms and eight presidential suites just a half an hour drive from Vevey. Alternatively, take advantage of the hotel’s boat and take a short scenic ride to Vevey avoiding the roads. Indulge in a two-Michelin star dinner on the sparkling garden terrace, try pedal yoga in the spa pool or sit back and admire the view over Lake Geneva. Offering child-friendly cooking courses and treasure hunts around the ten-acre gardens, Beau-Rivage Palace is one for the families. 

Le Grande Bellevue Hotel, just over an hour away in Gstaad is sure to steal you away from everyday life, with its Michelin-star restaurant, subterranean spa and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the mountains. 


What else can you do in the area?

After discovering the winegrowing festivities of Vevey and vineyards of Lavaux you’ll be in the perfect location to set off on a luxury holiday to Switzerland and beyond. Ski down the slopes of Glacier 3000, discover Switzerland’s cheese village with a private tour of Gruyere or treat your children to a tour of Cailler chocolate factory in Broc.


Ready to take on Switzerland?

Tempted by the festivities, terraced vineyards and alpine mountain range? Get in touch with one of our travel experts to start planning your tailor-made Swiss trip today.