Epesses is a former municipality in the Swiss Canton of Vaud, located in the district of Lavaux-Oron on Lake Geneva and is noted for its wine production. It is located some 460m above sea level and the centre of the village is located on a small flat terrace on the steep slopes amid the vineyards of Lavaux on the slopes of Mont de Gourze in a particularly scenic location about 80 metres above Lake Geneva.
The village is surrounded by 52 hectares of vineyards which produces dry white wine, mainly from the Chasselas variety. The vineyards of Lavaux are a UNESCO designated World Heritage Site and the village itself is designated as part of the Inventory of Swiss Heritage Sites. Epesses contains densely packed wine growers houses, built in stone and mostly dating from the 17th to 19th century, offering a delightful picturesque townscape.
Moving the technical processing facilities in order to improve the relationship between the winery buildings and the view over the vineyards to Lake Geneva was a key part of the design project.
We were asked to provide designs for a maison de reception for an established wine growing family whose wine processing facilities were to be moved from the centre of Epesses to another location nearby.
The design provides attractive new accommodation as a replacement for existing late nineteenth century wine production buildings which are distinctly out of character with the gentle baroque vernacular charm of the village.
The design provides a new house designed to harmonise with the village style and also provide wine storage and tasting facilities focused around one of the largest oak barrels in the world which presently sits in the cellar. The spectacular views along Lake Geneva are exploited through the provision of a landscaped terrace that overlooks the vineyards and the lake beyond.