Canton and wine-growing region with the capital Lausanne in French-speaking Switzerland. The vineyards cover 3,882 hectares. The beginnings of viticulture date back to the Romans. In the Middle Ages, the Cistercian order carried out important pioneering work, whose monks laboriously wrested the majority of the vineyards that still exist today from the steep slopes. An AOC system with Grand Cru sites has been in place since 1995. The use of the designation Grand Cru is permitted (tolerated) throughout the entire cantonal territory provided that the wines in question come from sites listed in the vineyard register and bear designations such as Clos (closed vineyard), Château (castle), Domaine (wine-growing domain) or Abbaye (monastic abbey). The canton is divided into four areas, one in the Three Lakes Region and three on Lake Geneva (Lac Léman):
Bonvillars actually comprises three appellations, namely Bonvillars with 195 hectares (including the well-known municipality of Champagne), Côtes de l'Orbe with 168 hectares - both on Lake Neuchâtel (Lac de Neuchâtel), and Vully on Lake Morat (Lac de Morat) with 50 hectares. However, they are usually referred to together under Bonvillars or rarely as Nord-Vaudois (North Vaud), because it is the northernmost growing area. Vully is special because this appellation covers two cantons, Fribourg (107 ha) and Vaud (50 ha). However, the winegrowers of Vully see themselves as a common wine region, although there is a cantonal border between them with different cantonal wine legislation. However, the official Swiss wine guide only counts Vully (at the express wish of the winegrowers) as part of the Three Lakes Region, but Bonvillars and Côtes de l'Orbe as part of Vaud.
Chablais, with 560 hectares of vineyards, is the area to the north-east of Lake Geneva and along the right bank of the Rhône between Martigny and Montreux up to the border of the canton of Valais. The name is derived from Caput Laci (end of the lake). Five communes have AOC status and are allowed to bear the name on the label, these are Aigle (with the famous Château d'Aigle wine museum), Bex, Ollon, Villeneuve and Yvorne.
Lavaux with 830 hectares of vineyards between Lausanne and Montreux on the eastern shore of Lake Geneva. It is one of the most scenic areas in Switzerland. Of the 23 communes, nine have AOC status, some of them with Grand Cru sites. These are Calamin (Grand Cru), Chardonne, Dézaley (Grand Cru), Epesses, Lutry, Montreux, Saint Saphorin, Vevey and Vilette. There are steep rock terraces rising from the lake. The vineyards on extreme steep slopes near Dézaley and around Saint Saphorin were planted by the Cistercians of the Hautcrèt Palézieux monastery in the 12th century. In mid-2007, Lauvax was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
La Côte is by far the largest area, covering more than 1,900 hectares and stretching northwest of Lake Geneva from Lausanne to just outside Geneva. The Cistercian monks of the three monasteries of Oujon, Romainmoêtier and Bonzmont also planted vineyards here. The area contributes a total of 40% of wine production. Twelve communes have Grand Cru status, these are Aubonne, Begnins, Bursinel, Côte de Vincy, Féchy, Luins, Mont-sur-Rolle, Morges (largest area), Nyon, Perroy, Tartegnin and Vinzel.
Around 70% of the vineyard area is covered by the Chasselas, which is called Perlan here. The wines made from this variety are called Dorin or, for top products, Terravin. The red varieties occupy about a quarter of the vineyard, especially Pinot Noirwith 15% and Gamay with 12%. These are often blended together. The branded red wine corresponding to Dôle in the canton of Valais is called Salvagnin here, but the varieties are also pressed separately. In small quantities (around 3%), there are also Auxerrois, Charmont, Diolinoir, Gamaret, Garanoir, Gewürztraminer, Merlot, Muscat Blanc, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Silvaner (here Johannisberg), Plant Robert and Syrah.
A traditional cultural heritage of the Vaud wine-growing region is the 0.7 litre wine bottle. The most important event in the Swiss wine world is the "Fête des Vignerons" in the town of Vevey on the northern shore of Lake Geneva. The event dates back to the 17th century, when all the winegrowers celebrate their work in the vineyard. It is held only every 25 years, the last one in August 1999, the next one between 2021 and 2023. The Changins Research Institute for Plant Protection is located near the capital Nyon on Lake Geneva. The best wines of the canton are awarded the "Lauriers d'Or Terravin" seal of approval according to strict criteria. Well-known producers are Association Viticole d'Ollon, Association Viticole d'Yvorne, Badoux, Bolle, Bovard, Dubois Fils, Hammel, Les Frères Dubois, Massy, Obrist, Schenk, Société Vinicole de Bex, Testuz and Uvavins.