Industry killed the vines in Monthey
The Chablais region entered the industrial era at the start of the 20th century, well before central Valais. Large chemical and metallurgy companies opened in Monthey, building on an industrial complex that began several years earlier with the glass-making business. Communal authorities banked on this development as early as 1893, when the town’s 3,000 inhabitants still relied on agriculture for most of their income. The factories create jobs and the population grows at an impressive rate. Between 1930 and 1970 it goes from 4,000 to 10,000 inhabitants. During the same period, around the centre of Monthey, all of the vineyards on the plain disappear, replaced by housing. Starting in the 1960s most of the vines belong to labourers and employees. They are divided into scores of small vine parcels, less than 500 m2, and are cared for by what are known as “Saturday growers”.
From 50 to 3 hectares
During the 1970s the expansion of the hamlet of Outrevièze and construction of houses and vacation chalets nibble away at the rest of the productive growing area. The development occurs extremely fast. At the start of the 20th century Monthey’s vineyards cover 50 hectares. Today there are only a few vine parcels totalling 3 hectares.
Source: Histoire de la Vigne et du Vine en Valais, «A Monthey, l’industrie mange la vigne dès 1983», Simon Martin, geographer.