It is often said that wine is synonymous with conviviality, yet only in Cooperative Wineries these words actually come to life.
In Italy, more than one out of two glasses of wine is produced by cooperative wineries. According to Vivite, in fact, the numbers speak for themselves: 480 wineries, 140.000 united winegrowers, 9.000 employees for a production that reaches 58% of Italian wine. Numbers that speak of tradition, sociality and love for our land.
The rules of Vinchio Vaglio Cooperative are simple: each member’s centrality, attention to the territory, search for quality, study of innovation and collective growth. These are the ingredients that allow us to make great wines, without neglecting our roots.
Vinchio Vaglio Cooperative: a big family
Vinchio Vaglio Cooperative Winery was founded on February 26th, 1959, by 19 winemakers from Vinchio and Vaglio Serra, two long-time rival villages, which decided to join forces and create the Cooperative. In fact, the winery was built just on the border between the two villages, in order to make everyone feel represented, and the very first members were the ones who actually took part in the construction of the winery in order to process the first grapes in the same year.
Today there are 197 members, owners of about 470 hectares of vineyards, yet the spirit has remained the same.
They are big, medium, small and even very small winemakers those who provide all the grapes of Vinchio Vaglio. But most of all, they are people, families, generations who decided to join forces in order to embrace a bigger project that involves a whole territory which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The foundations of the Cooperative
The cooperative was born for an obvious need: the need to balance the socio-economic imbalance between winemakers and buyers. In fact, it is clear how a small winemaker (the average number of hectares of vineyard property per vine-grower is about 2) would not have the capital nor the possibility to make a good wine and sell it, and the rapid perishability of the fruit would make the vine-grower easily susceptible to market abuse.
Here is the real revolution: by transforming individualism into sociality, it is possible to continue to work well and live in symbiosis with the land. Only by joining forces can great deeds be accomplished.
At the assembly, the vote cast by each member is not related to the size of the land: only the principle of “one head, one vote” applies.
I know what you’re thinking: if it seems complicated to get your family to agree on which restaurant to go to for dinner, who knows what it means to make 197 heads agree! Yet it is during the members’ meeting that the most important strategic decisions are made.
And do you know why it works? Because while certainly being a challenge, it is most of all a goal: the democratic management of an economic model that can really set an example for society.
In this perspective, in Vinchio Vaglio it is easy to make quick decisions, in line with the market’s timing and respectful at the same time of the need to keep traditions alive, also thanks to the roles of President and Vice President, who manage to coordinate the needs of all members.
The Cooperative Winery is an enterprise that looks to the future
Vinchio Vaglio is a reality that does not end with the seniority of the founding members, but looks to the future with many young members who believe the Cooperative to be a working model for the wine excellence of tomorrow’s winemaking.
Of course, in the past most of Barbera wines on the market were disharmonious wines devoted to a policy of quantity rather than quality. Vinchio Vaglio, almost 60 years ago, had the foresight to reverse this trend thanks to the coordinated work of oenologists, viticulturists and technicians, in order to create wines of the utmost quality.
Within the big family of Vinchio Vaglio, in fact, each member is interested first-hand in making quality grapes and, being able to devote themselves only to the cultivation phase, can really concentrate all their energies in the special care required by the vineyards, also thanks to the constant assistance of the Winery.
A virtuous circle that leads winemakers to grow professionally thanks to the Cooperative and that, at the same time, leads the Cooperative to grow qualitatively thanks to each individual member.
A pillar that isn’t just economic, but also social and cultural.
“The real revolution has been the return to the vineyard with technical-agronomic assistance services to advise on what to plant and how, and above all to indicate the lines of defense with an eye to the environment, with the awareness that quality is achevied in the vineyard: technique and technology preserve it and transmit it to the wine”.
Lorenzo Giordano – President of Vinchio Vaglio
It is also thanks to this assistance that our wines continuously receive prestigious awards from national and international critics.
Speaking about the values of cooperation and the story of the Cooperative Winery of Vinchio Vaglio means speaking of the love for our land, the sharing of ideas, the passion and hard work that is hidden behind each of our bottles.
The words of Maurizio Gily and Daniele Cernilli about the Cooperative Winery
Nevertheless, it does not end in the vineyard. As Maurizio Gily, agronomist, journalist and founder of Millevigne, explains very well with these words: “Nowadays, in the most advanced wineries they do not assess just the sugar level, but there are also measuring stations capable of “X-raying” the grapes in order to evaluate their quality potential in depth, by measuring five, six or more parameters in a short time, and many different processing lines to which the different lots are destined”.
We also like to quote the words of Daniele Cernilli, journalist, enogastronomist and editor of Doctorwine, who analyzes wine cooperatives from another important point of view: “If there were no cooperatives, we would lose the landscape and the management of entire territories. Let’s think about the canals and dry stone walls that producers have built on their plots, the white roads they rebuilt at their own expense. The world of agriculture and viticulture consists of the daily heroism of these small producers, true guardians of the territory […] Twenty years ago, there was no awareness of cooperative wineries, which were a sort of wine bank for bottlers, while many of them would mainly produce bulk wine. Today, it is not like that anymore and wines produced by cooperatives are actually a great, authentic excellence“.