Caves Ouvertes on May 12: The Great Drunken Bike Ride

Alright, this one is probably obvious, but if you’re in Geneva this weekend, there’s really only one place you should be. Actually, make that 90 places you should be. This weekend, the great Canton of Geneva opens its wineries for the biggest wine tasting event this side of the Salève.

Admittedly, this can be a bit overwhelming. ALL of Geneva’s wineries (about 90 of them in total)  in all parts of the canton offer up their wines for tasting. It’s there opportunity to primarily introduce the “class” of 2011 and teh results of the 2010 wines fresh out of their barrels. What to do? Where to start? How to get there? Answers below in reverse order!

How to get there?

If the weather is nice, there’s no doubt you should jump on a bike and head out there. That way, you can hit as many vineyards as possible and still stay (moderately) safe.

If you’re less inclined to bike, you can also take a train out to Satigny from Cornavin and walk around the village that way. Pretty easy, but you cover less ground.

Geneva has also intelligently planned public transportation to get from place to place. Check out the website here:

Finally, if you’d like to take a car, might as well stay at home and drink in a park somewhere, mmmkay?

Where to start?

This is tricky. It’s wine, it’s tasting, you can pretty much go anywhere and have fun. But here are some things to think about. First, which side of the lake would you like to go to? The right bank countryside (including Satigny, Russin, Dardagny, etc) is better known for its wines and sloping vineyards. However, you have a second opportunity to tour those in the fall for the Fête des vendanges de Russin in the fall (September 14-16 this year). Buses seem to depart from their stations every 5 minutes on this side.

Alternatively, you could go try out the lesser-known wines of Geneva’s left bank (in the Jussy area), which, to my knowledge doesn’t offer a second opportunity later in the year.

Comparatively? The right bank attracts far more of the 10,000 or so visitors and so will be far more crowded. The regions between the Rhone and the Arve (Lully, Bernex etc) and the left bank (Jussy, Anières, Gy) don’t attract as many visitors. The TPG has buses departing every 5 minutes on that side, compared to every 20 minutes on the left bank. Pros and cons to both, but again, there will be wine anywhere you go!

What to do?

Couldn’t find a good way to get a sense of the overall activities for the day, but here are a few starting points.

Right Bank

Cave de Genève (Satigny) was awarded a gold medal at this year’s Vinalies for it’s 2010 Sauvignon Blanc de Genève l’Aiglette, and a silver medal for its L’Esprit de Genève AOC by Florian Barthassat. Could be your chance to take a case of it home!

Domaine du Paradis (Satigny) was awarded a silver medal (also at the Vinalies) for its 2010 white wine, Pont des Soupirs.

Les Perrières (Peissy (near Satigny)) has a silver medal (still at the Vinalies) white wine, the 2010 Aligoté AOC.

Domaine des Molards (Russin) is boasting farm animals and games for the kiddies, a tour of the museum of wine machines, and a tour of the vineyards that include 26 grape varieties..! Added bonus, they’ll have homemade goods that highlight Geneva’s terroir.
Left Bank
Chateau du Crest (Jussy) has perhaps the most well-known wines that side of the Léman. Bonus: you get terroir munchies and can hang out at the spectacular Chateau.
Generally speaking, you’ll have the chance to try the lesser established wines, with smaller production, smaller vineyards, etc. It’s the underdog, if you will.
So, unlike in politics, be you left, center or right leaning, we’ll all end up in the same party. Nothing like sipping wines in Geneva’s gorgeous countryside, so hopefully I’ll see you among the vines.



One thought on “Caves Ouvertes on May 12: The Great Drunken Bike Ride

  1. Kate says:

    ohhhh the memories… i can’t go, got boulot, but perhaps tomorrow i can convince my esteemed colleague to partake in some libations during office hours so we can be there in spirit : )

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: