Opening of the new building of the VINSEUM - Museum of the Wine Cultures of Catalonia

Opening of the new building of the VINSEUM - Museum of the Wine Cultures of Catalonia
bonart vilafranca del penedès - 08/05/24

The new building of the VINSEUM – Museu de les Cultures del Vi de Catalunya will open its first spaces to the public on May 18, as part of the International Museum Day events. They will be the welcome area, the shop and the Plaça del Vi, an area of free access where information about all the Catalan wine regions is displayed, "like an open agora where people can start to discover what the new museum will hide ”, highlighted the director of the equipment, Xavier Fornos, on Tuesday. On the 18th and 19th, nearly 2,000 people are expected to pass through. In parallel with the opening of the ground floor, the assembly of the basement and the three upper floors is being completed with the intention of inaugurating 100% of the equipment in October.

"We plan this new ground floor as a reception and welcome space for a totally unique museum", Fornos pointed out in a press conference, where he explained that opening the basement now - even though it is already completed - has been ruled out because it is an area that will be launched when the equipment is fully inaugurated.

Fornos has highlighted that the ground floor brings together twelve interactive screens with information on all the Catalan Denominations of Origin, as well as a mapping of Catalonia "to explain the qualities of the territory as a land of wines, always with a national vocation". Dubbed the Wine Square, it also offers two three-dimensional exhibitions and "the two most important monumental elements of the VINSEUM": the mural in tribute to the vineyard signed by Pau Boada in 1960 and a giant wine press from the 1831 century, with more five meters high and nearly 5,000 kilos in weight.

Access to this new welcome space will entail modifying the historic entrance that the museum has had for 90 years. All in all, the new hall connects with the old facilities of the Royal Palace, where the Tavern and the auditorium are located, "so that nearly 1,000 square meters of completely free access are offered".

Fornos has guaranteed that from October all the equipment will be operational, which will allow the VINSEUM to go from the 500 m2 of exhibition space that it had until now to occupy 3,000 on four floors - three upper and one underground. The useful surface and multipurpose spaces will go from the 1,500 m2 that existed until now to practically 5,000 m2.

From the Vilafranca Town Council, the Councilor for Culture, Àngels Dalmau, has assured that the new VINSEUM "will take the municipality to another level, with which the capital of wine is strengthened". "We are a capital that safeguards the heritage of all the Catalan DOs", affirmed Dalmau, who emphasized that the Vilafranquí museum will become "the oldest in Europe in terms of wines and, at the same time, the most modern all".

Scheduled visits throughout the DIM weekend

The VINSEUM has organized tours of 50 people throughout Saturday the 18th from 10am to midnight to show the first spaces of the new building. They will be 30-minute visits for which you must reserve free entry, in a system that will be repeated on Sunday from 10am to 2pm. From May 21, and until October, free access will be maintained, but there will also be an entrance fee of 3 euros which will include a glass of wine. It will also be from the 21st when the audio-guide service will be introduced in Catalan, Spanish, English and French.

Seven million euros for a historic reform

The inauguration of the VINSEUM projected for October will mark the culmination of a historic reform carried out almost 25 years ago. Although the first political talks about the expansion of the equipment date back to 2000, it was not until 2017 that the work got off the ground with a grant from the FEDER fund. European funding, the Provincial Council of Barcelona and the Vilafranca City Council added up to the 4.5 MEUR needed to erect the new building at that time.

Although the forecast was to complete the action in just over two years, the project has chained one obstacle after another. The appearance of a 14th century necropolis with a hundred skeletons, the remains of a 17th-19th century cellar, various difficulties with construction companies, the outbreak of covid and challenges from aspiring companies to make the audiovisual musicography have systematically delayed the calendar.

Apart from the 4.5 million euros to make the building, the new VINSEUM has gone ahead with an additional investment of 3 million to make the museography. The funding as a whole comes from two FEDER grants, contributions from the Provincial Council of Barcelona and also from Vilafranca City Council.

Before closing the historic building to start the works and the transfer of the exhibitions, the museum received around 30,000 visitors a year, including those who come to the new Casa de la Festa Major, managed by the VINSEUM. The aspiration is that the new equipment will attract an annual average of 70,000 visitors in a few years.

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