Dézaley Grand Cru

A long-standing recognition

AOC Dézaley Grand Cru

The Vaud Government reacted favourably 21 March 2013 to a request by the Vaud wine inter-professional commission to confer AOC (appellation d’origine contrôlée) Grand Cru status on the grape growing areas of Dézaley and Calamin. The special situation of the Dézaley and Calamin appellations had always been recognized by Vaud legislation, although it was somewhat overlooked in the 2009 revision of the law. The goal of this modification of the regulations has been to reinforce the visibility of Dézaley and Calamin by giving them official recognition. An AOC is notably a quality guarantee and a marketing plus aimed at consumers. The two new AOCs must respect quality regulations over and above those of other AOCs, covering as they do wines that for a very long time have benefited from a reputation for excellence. Wines from Dézaley and Calamin must be “Grand Cru” wines and must fill all the obligations that are needed to achieve this status. Coupage (mixing different wines or wines from different areas, as opposed to blending) is not allowed; noting the vintage is obligatory; sugar levels must be 6 to 7 degrees Oechslé greater than for other AOC wines for Chasselas, and 10 degrees for red wines. If the prescribed sugar levels are not reached, the wine carries the regional AOC label, “Lavaux”. The particular location of the wine zones of Dézaley and Calamin have been renowned throughout their history, but became anchored in Vaud law starting in 1949. The very special terroir of these two regions was also recognized in a study of Vaud wine terroirs published in 2004 under the aegis of several scientific and administrative bodies.
By virtue of the decree on the delimitation of wine-growing regions of April 5, 1949 already, whereas all other appellations could be worn by a wine as soon as it was formed «for the most part» of grapes from the commune in question, the appellation Dézaley, the only exception provided for (art. 4), could only designate a wine coming entirely from the vineyard of Dézaley, very precisely delimited. The appellations were then clarified by the decree of 8 November 1963 on the delimitation of the wine region of Lavaux. This allowed cuts of 49% or 30% for the appellations of the places of production (Lutry, Villette, Epesses, St-Saphorin, Chardonne and Vevey) and also introduced the notion of appellation of cru (estate, castle, etc.), which benefited the wines harvested exclusively in the area concerned. The Dézaley and the Calamin were governed by a special provision as a «delimited area of appellation of cru» precisely providing for the extent of their territory (art. 6).

A 5 April 1949 decree that set out the viticole regions proscribed that while all the other appellations were permitted a wine composed “in large part” of grapes coming from the commune in question, the Dézaley appellation was the only exception made (art. 4), where a wine had to come entirely from Dézaley vines, a specific designated area. Further precisions covering the Lavaux wine region appellations’ boundaries were set out in a decree 8 November 1963. This authorized coupages of up to 49% or 30% for the production areas (Lutry, Villette, Epesses, St Saphorin, Chardonne and Vevey) while also introducing the notion of “appellation de cru” (for a domain, château, etc.), benefiting wines from grapes harvested exclusively from the area concerned. Dézaley and Calamin were covered by a special quality-focused article, “the area within the borders of the appellation de cru”, stipulating exactly the reach of their territory (art. 6).

The 19 June 1985 regulations covering Vaud wine AOCs also noted officially the unique character of the Dézaley and Calamin appellations. It first delineated the notion of viticulture areas (Lavaux was one) and production zones (for Lavaux: Lutry, Villette, Epesses, Saint Saphorin, Chardonne and Montreux and Vevey). The wines carrying the appellation of these production areas could be made from up to just 51% of the place in question. The viticulture zones of Dézaley and Calamin weren’t, however, considered production zones but rather had the right to be designated appellation de cru wines (art. 8). The other appellations de cru (art.17 ss) were: clos, château, abbey, domain, cadastral appellation and lieu-dit (place name locality). Only the wines with an appellation de cru had the right to list on them “cru” or “grand cru”. From the outset, the Dézaley and Calamin appellations were considered as AOCs.

For more than 60 years, Vaud regulations could be schematically summarized as follows:

  • On the one hand, all the wines carry the mention of a viticulture region (Lavaux, etc.) or of a production area (Lutry, St Saphorin, etc.);
  • On the other hand the wines (including Dézaley and Calamin) that bear an appellation de cru (or grand cru) (domain, château, etc.), are subject to stricter requirements (in particular, coupage, or mixing different area wines, is banned). The Dézaley and Calamin appellations carry, in addition, an AOC label.

Since 1 June 2009, this distinction could be found in the new regulations, but the Dézaley and Calamin appellations were considered ordinary production areas. This was the case until the recent modification of the 21 March 2013 Regulations on Vaud Wines, which gives AOC Grand Cru status to these two prestigious appellations.


Association Appellation Dézaley Grand Cru
Jean-François Chevalley
Route du Treytorrens 1
1096 En Dézaley