1930: Cooperative Provins created
Valais suffered from a flood of wine on the market after the first world war. The surface area given over to grape cultivation continually grew and harvests were very abundant (24 million litres in 1918). Stocks were a burden for wineries and the market was awash with foreign wines. Valais wines had trouble finding buyers in a Switzerland impoverished by the economic crisis. Producers, caught by distributors’ rules, were being strangled by the system. They decided to unite, with support from the authorities. The Fédération des Caves coopératives valaisannes was born in 1930; the cooperative group became “Provins” in 1937.
The goal was to ensure a fairer selling price for producers and to give them the option of making the wine and storing it. From the start, the cooperative asked its members to submit to a certain number of rules in order to improve techniques and the quality of the end product. Provins was largely responsible for introducing a zoning plan for the vineyards and the use of wooden crates.
Grape harvest in Ardon around 1947. Photo M Kettel, Médiathèque Valais-Martigny.