Known to wine enthusiasts for one of the world’s best known annual wine fairs, Vinitaly, Verona is about to host a poli-functional wine museum and visitor centre that promises to rival similar enterprises in Bordeaux and Porto.
The Museo del Vino (MuVin) project was officially unveiled at Vinitaly earlier this month, with the endorsement of Italian tourism minister Massimo Garavaglia, Roberta Garibaldi of Italy’s national tourism agency, and Prof Diego Begalli, director of the department of business economics at the University of Verona.
‘I was in Edinburgh, Scotland, years ago, and there I had the opportunity to visit the popular Scotch Whisky Experience,’ said Enrico Corsi of the Veneto Regional Council, who promoted and developed the idea behind the project. ‘I wondered why something similar could not be done with wine in Italy. I realised that we did not have anything comparable in our country, apart from a bunch of smaller private initiatives.’
A visit to Bordeaux’ La Cité du Vin further reinforced Corsi’s vision: ‘La Cité du Vin is a huge economic resource for the Bordeaux region, so I decided to get to work to put this idea into practice.’
The resulting MuVin project is an ambitious €50m (£42m) museum, visitor and exhibition centre that will be aptly located in Verona’s Gallerie Mercatali. The venue sits just opposite the city’s exhibition quarter, which is active year-round and hosts a number of popular shows, including Vinitaly itself.
‘Clearly the museum will rely on the huge number of people who already visit the area, including some 32 million tourists who go to Lake Garda every year, as well as 3.8 million who visit Verona, plus everything else happening in the region,’ said Corsi. ‘Needless to say, Verona’s numerous exhibitions will benefit us with additional visitors too. This will be Italy’s largest museum dedicated to wine, it will be the country’s main hub for enotourism and will also have an international scope.’
The Gallerie Mercatali, once home to Verona’s horticultural market, cover a land area of nearly 20,000sqm. MuVin’s museum area itself will cover about 5,400sqm, with the remaining surface dedicated to complimentary activities. Indeed, MuVin will also feature an experiential “path” of nearly 5,800sqm that will take visitors on a journey of discovery, touching on themes such as the history of wine, viticulture, wine production, the impact of climate change on winegrowing, and wine and food pairing.
The structure is going to offer educational activities too, with wine lovers welcomed to learn wine tasting techniques as well as conduct virtual visits to wineries and UNESCO heritage vineyards in augmented reality rooms.
The MuVin complex will host temporary exhibitions showcasing both Italian and international wines in addition to cultural initiatives – all with a wine angle – such as contemporary art, music, literature and cinema.
‘There will also be a wine and food market, eateries, a large wine cellar, a conference centre, and a wine auction room,’ added Corsi, ‘as well as a WebTV, and room to showcase other important Italian products that wine enthusiast love, such as vinegar, spirits and olive oil.’
According to Corsi, the project’s next step is the establishment of the MuVin Foundation, which will be officialised next Thursday 5th May. The Foundation will be responsible for supervising the project’s development and will be eventually in charge of managing the museum.
‘The Foundation will officially kick off the project. It has attracted the interest of several local councils, trade bodies, consortiums, businesses, wineries, which will all be welcomed to join in,’ said Corsi. ‘We expect MuVin to be ready by 2026, when Northern Italy will host the next Winter Olympics.’