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Penedès wine’s museum reopens its doors after a big renovation to strengthen enotourism

Located in the centre of Catalonia, the area of Penedès is known for its high quality wine and cava. Due to the long tradition in this region of the production of these drinks and the growing presence of wine tourism, it was decided to strengthen the offers of this sector. On this occasion, after two and a half years of building work, the old Vinseum - Wine Culture Museum of Catalonia - has been reopened with new exhibits in a new location: the Royal Palace of Vilafranca del Penedès. However, this is not just a museum of the production of wine; it is based on wine as a cultural, social, historical and scientific phenomenon.

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09 October 2012 03:05 PM

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ACN / Javi Polinario / Laura Quintana

Vilafranca del Penedès (ACN).- The area of Penedès, in the centre of Catalonia, is world famous for its red, white and cava wines, although it is not the only one in Catalonia. The growth of enotourism has led to an increase in Penedès offers in this sector. The newest tourist attraction is the reopening of the Vinseum \u2013 Wine Culture Museum of Catalonia - which hosts the old exhibition disassembled two and a half years ago from the old museum. The new museum is located at the Royal Palace of Vilafranca del Penedès, in which one of the Catalan kings died in the 13th century. The medieval palace and an adjacent newly-built building will have at the end of the project 3,000 square metres of available space for the wine museum. The new version of the Vinseum relies on wine as a cultural, social, historical and scientific phenomenon, and not only on its production phases.


The Royal Palace of Vilafranca del Penedès will host the old contents of the Wine Culture Museum of Catalonia (Vinseum) which were disassembled and moved to the new building. Complementary with this, new exhibits have been produced to widen the offerings. In total, this new space will present about 400 pieces.

In the previous building, all the pieces were introduced to the visitors with panels of texts next to them. In the new one, and according to the Museum architect designer, Dani Freixas, there will not be any text explanation as the museum will be explained to the visitors with audio guides. Due to the purpose of describing wine culture, people that over the years have created a link between wine and Penedès will be part of the audio guides to explain it in the first person.

The exhibition is organised around a narrative script: the link with the land and the past, the process of winemaking, its commercialisation, the impact on people\u2019s lives and discussions on wine and vineyards.

Two and a half years of complex building work

The President of Vinseum\u2019s Board, Josep Soler, has explained that the building work at the Royal Palace of Vilafranca del Penedès has been \u2018complex\u2019. The architect responsible for the project, Santiago Vives, has specified that \u201Cunexpected circumstances had arisen\u201D during the work. One of these unforeseen situations was the appearance of an original arch, which has been maintained and incorporated into the exhibition. This produced changes to the original project because the arch was located where the stairs and the elevator were planned to be.

The restoration work on the building emphasised the medieval elements of the Royal Palace and it has maintained the restoration work done in the mid-twentieth century by Diputació de Barcelona and Jeroni Martorell.

A wine tasting space

The Royal Palace has now a total available surface of 1,800 square metres including the exhibition area - 500 square metres -, an auditorium, a shop and a tavern where wine tasting and promotion of wine and cava culture will take place.

In total, the building work started in 2006 and will last until 2015 or 2016 and  will cost \u20AC3,2 million - 75% from the Spanish Government and 25% from the city council. However, the project also has \u20AC1 million from the Spanish Ministry of Culture for the museum equipment and about \u20AC200,000 from the Catalan Government for future phases of the project.

The definitive building will have 3,000 square metres available as the building next to the Royal Palace has to be demolished to build a new one of about 2,000 square metres. Soler has highlighted that the project \u201Chas already been written\u201D and that \u201Cthey already have the funding to start the project, but not to finish it\u201D. The total cost of this new phase will be \u20AC20 million and the work will last about two years.

Penedès, the main production area of wine and cava in Catalonia

The area of Penedès is located in the mid-centre of Catalonia near the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. It is famous for its red, white and cava wine production and it has its own wine appellation (DO).

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  • The new wine museum at Vilafranca del Penedès (by J. Polinario)

  • Medieval stairs at the old Royal Palace of Vilafranca del Penedès (by J. Polinario)

  • The new wine museum at Vilafranca del Penedès (by J. Polinario)
  • Medieval stairs at the old Royal Palace of Vilafranca del Penedès (by J. Polinario)