Contact the Rolle Tourist Office
for this year's dates!
The festival normally
takes place in late August

La Bodzerane:
La Cote's Best Little Wine Festival

Dance and "Degust" the night away on the cobblestones of one of the region's most charming villages.


Wine has been grown in Bougy-Villars for over a millenium. Around the year 1000, monks from the abbey in Romainmotier were dispatched to the fertile hillsides above Lake Geneva to cultivate the vines. The results of centuries of viticulture will be yours for the sampling the evenings of August 18 and 19 at one of the most atmospheric wine festivals of La Cote.

Bougy-Villars, situated in the midst of the vines on the hillsides above Rolle, is a well-preserved village which also enjoys a spectacular view up and down the lake. Although the town has only 381 inhabitants (among them well-known violinist Pierre Amoyal), it has nearly 20 vignerons. Pierre Cretegny, town secretary and local vintner, met with me to tell me a bit about the history of the event. As we chatted, we sipped Cretegny's delightful Chasselas from typical thimble-shaped vaudois wine glasses emblazoned with the name of the festival, "La Bodzerane."

Pierre Cretegny (known in the village as "Lou Lou") first lit on the idea that Bougy-Villars should have its own festival after spending a harvest-time holiday in Alsace. He and a group of other wine growers from the town launched the first "Bodzerane" in 1977. "Bodzerane" is the expression for a resident of Bougy-Villars.

On the evenings of the festival, the facades of the ancient village are beautifully illuminated -- like an 18th century stage set. Events kick off at 6 P..M. both evenings. The cost of entry is Sfr 5, including a Bodzerane wine glass full of the local vintage. You can also buy a "porte- verre," a crocheted pouch which allows you to hang the wine glass around your neck. "The village women make them out of wool during the winter," explained local auberge owner Jean-Francois Roux.

Outfitted with wine glass and porte-verre, you are ready to make the rounds of the various stands. Wine can be purchased by the glass, or by the bottle to share with friends at the long wooden tables placed throughout the town. Concessions will sell fried filets de perches, boules de fromage, and grilled meats. A variety of traditional and contemporary music will be offered at different points throughout the village.

Cretegny and a ten-person festival committee have been preparing the logistics of this year's Bodzerane for months. Up to 4000 people are expected to attend. Since parking is not possible in Bougy-Villars, festival officials will direct traffic to parking in the fields around the village. Two buses will circulate continuously to pick up arrivals. "Each bus will be equipped with a big bottle of water and aspirin," says Roux. "That's for the return trip." For those who have passed their limit, there will also be mattresses and blankets in the Grande Salle, he noted.

Update of an article first published in 1997