1850: The beginning of wine sales
Up to this point, wine wasn’t sold. Production covered daily needs of households. Starting in 1500, a timid regional trade began, to supply inns and the part of Upper Valais that did not produce wine. Some enterprising owners experimented with techniques to improve the quality of the wine, make their vineyards more profitable and to find new outlets.
The development of commercial trade in grapes and wine in Valais began as a result of the Sonderbund civil war in 1847. The lands taken from the Church were bought by wealthy Valais families and investors from canton Vaud; they founded the first viticulture businesses in Valais. Canals built for the Rhone river offered the possibility of enlarging the grape cultivation area. The railroad’s arrival at the start of the 1860s opened new possibilities.
Shipping moût (must) by train. Granges, early 20th c. Photo MVVV.