Musée du Vin and the Vineyard Trail: From Sierre to Salgesch in Valais

Between Sierre and Salgesch, the Sentier viticole (vineyard walk) connects two sites of the Musée du Vin (Wine museum). Located in the Swiss canton of Valais, this 6-km path takes you through a landscape of scenic terraced vineyards. Over the entire trail, you will find about 80 different signs (in French and German) with information about growing and harvesting grapes, the history of the region, wine-making and more. I visited the museum and went on the vineyard walk with my children in the early spring. With about one-third of Switzerland’s total wine production coming from Valais, the Sentier viticole is a great way to learn about wine from this region, while also having the opportunity to taste some of the local culinary specialties along the way.

Here are my tips if you would like to visit the museum and walk the vineyard trail yourself:

1. Start in Sierre at the Château de Villa

From the main train station in Sierre (Siders in German), it takes about 15 minutes to walk up to the Château de Villa, which I recommend as the first stop on your walk. The Œnothèque at this castle includes more than 650 different kinds of wines from over 110 producers in Valais. You can sample these wines and other local dishes at the wine bar or have some raclette cheese for lunch at the restaurant. During our visit, I tried two wines made with ancient grape varieties from this region of Switzerland: Amigne and Humagne blanc.


Château de Villa, Rue de Ste-Catherine 4, 3960 Sierre, +41 (0)27 455 18 96, info@chateaudevilla.ch

2. Visit the Wine Museum – Sierre

After your visit to the Château du Villa, you will conveniently find the Sierre location of the Musée du Vin next door. This space is home to the museum’s temporary expositions. While we were there, we explored La voix du vin (The voice of wine), which focuses on the many sounds associated with wine-making. This exposition continues until November 30, 2018. When you purchase your ticket at the museum in Sierre, keep it on hand so you can present it at the museum’s other location in Salgesch.


Musée du Vin – Sierre, Rue Ste-Catherine 6, 3960 Sierre, +41 (0)27 456 35 25, contact@museeduvin-valais.ch

When you complete your visit to the Musée du Vin in Sierre, follow the signs for the Sentier viticole to officially start your walk along the trail. The first section of the path includes some examples of typical homes for the nomadic wine producers from the Val d’Annivers. You will also find a small playground along this section of the path.

3. Take a break at the Café du 1er Août

Not long after you come to the playground, you will reach the Café du 1er Août. We had the Sunday brunch at this restaurant, which was lovely, and we also stopped here again during our walk along the  Sentier viticole for some coffee. On the menu, you will find local wines and dishes like a traditional Assiette valaisanne, with a selection of local dried meat and cheese.


Café du 1er Août, Rue de Muraz 23, Sierre, +41 (0)27 565 68 00, info@cafedu1eraout.ch

When you leave the Café du 1er Août, the Sentier viticole continues to the village of Veyras. This area is described as a “source of inspiration” for artists, including the poet Rainer Maria Rilke. During the last five years of his life, he resided at the historic Château de Muzot, which you will see along the trail.

Following this section of the trail, you will reach an area where you can learn about the different grape varieties in Valais. It is situated near a picnic area, if you have packed along some food for a snack or meal (We picked up some pastries at Zenhäusern in Sierre).

Before you reach Salgesch, you will have the option to go up and around the Gorges de la Raspille. Since I was hiking with my children, we decided to take the shortcut, which offers a more direct route to the town of Salgesch.

4. Visit the Wine Museum – Salgesch 

When you reach Salgesch (Salquenen in French), you will find the main location with the permanent collection of the Musée du Vin. Completely renovated in 2015, the museum is housed in several historic buildings. We spent at least an hour at the museum, which includes exhibits about the different aspects of wine production. For example, there are displays with historic artifacts, such as silver goblets from the 17th century, and various tools used for harvesting grapes. Children can receive a brochure with questions that resembles a treasure hunt, with a small prize at the end if they complete all the tasks. There is also a special exhibition space for kids with games and other hands-on activities.


Musée du Vin – Salgesch, Museumplatz, 3970 Salgesch, +41 (0)27 456 45 25, contact@museeduvin-valais.ch

5. Enjoy a glass of wine in Salgesch

As you leave the museum in Salgesch, you may want to stop and enjoy a glass of local wine. A convenient place for a drink or meal is the restaurant at the Hotel Arkanum, a 2-minute walk from the museum. We ate lunch here—the service was excellent, and my children enjoyed their hot dogs and French fries. This restaurant has a large menu with local wines and seasonal dishes, including several types of “Röstizza“—a combination of the Swiss potato dish, rösti, with pizza that features raclette cheese from Valais. Even closer to the museum is the Restaurant Barrique, which has panini sandwiches, raclette and a Valaisan apricot sorbet.

Restaurants:

Hotel Arkanum, Unterdorfstrasse 1, 3970 Salgesch, +41 (027 451 21 00, info@hotelarkanum.ch
Restaurant Barrique, Dorfstrasse 9, 3970 Salgesch, +41 (0)27 455 55 60, info@mathier.com

Wineries: There are many wineries to choose from in Salgesch. This list is not meant to be exhaustive, but to instead give you a few suggestions within walking distance of the Musée du Vin.

Cave du Rhodan, Flantheystrasse 1, 3970 Salgesch, +41 27 455 04 07, mounir@rhodan.ch 
Cave St. Philippe, Pachienstrasse 19, 3970 Salgesch, +41 (0)27 455 72 36, info@cave-st-philippe.ch
Nouveau Salquenen, Bahnhofstrasse 50, 3970 Salgesch, +41 (0)27 455 75 75, info@mathier.com

Sentier Viticole / Vineyard Trail – At a glance:

  • Distance: 6 kilometers
  • Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes (At a leisurely pace with my children, it took over 3 hours to finish.)
  • Terrain: Primarily on local paved and unpaved roads, with some dirt trails.
  • Access: The vineyard trail begins at the Musée du Vin – Sierre and ends at the Musée du Vin – Salgesh (This is the recommended route, but you could certainly start in Salgesch). Both of these sites are within walking distance of the train stations in Sierre and Salgesch.

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