An initiative by the Provins winery lies behind the creation of a foundation in 1982, an association of different parts of the grape-growing business in order to give Valais a vine and wine museum. The foundation, under the direction of lawyer François-Joseph Bagnoud, began to look for an appropriate site/home. Locating the museum in the outbuildings of the Château Mercier in Sierre was one option studied but the idea was abandoned in 1987. A new call for candidates was put out, in Sion, Ardon and Sierre-Salgesch.
The combined Sierre-Salgesch project was retained because of the originality of the concept. The foundation, fully aware of the demands of museography, turned over the development of the exhibition to ethnologist Isabelle Raboud. The Vineyards Trail was inaugurated in 1990, the Maison Zumofen in Salgesch opened its doors in 1991 and the Château de Villa space in Sierre was opened in 1992.
The Wine Museum had to leave its premises at the Château de Villa in 2000 where renovations were to be followed by a winebar with shop. At the same time the museum in Salgesch grew, with the purchase by the Commune and the Bourgeoisie of an adjacent barn. This new space, renovated in 2002, is home to a room that extends the permanent exhibition, and a mezzanine where temporary exhibitions can be organized.
The Commune of Sierre in 2007 bought the Meyer house, next door to the Château de Villa, to provide the museum with exhibition space in Sierre. Nomad Architectes won the city’s architectural competition for the new space, opened in August 2009, an event attended by Swiss Federal Councilor Pascal Couchepin.
It was Salgesch’s turn in 2015 to have its space renovated. A new museumography concept, by Holzer Kobler in Zurich, approaches the world of vines and wines through different themes that are both contemporary and educational. With this new temporary exhibit and a new name, The Wine Museum, the institution has confirmed its identity and its role in Valais.