Association of winegrowers with the aim of sharing resources, processing the grapes produced, and marketing the wine and thus achieving the effectiveness of large farms. Most of them operate their own winery. But there are also large cooperative wineries that work for several other cooperatives without their own winery. One of the most significant of these is the huge " Baden wine cellar "In Breisach in the German growing area to bathe one of the largest in Europe. The origins of such associations date back to the first third of the 19th century, when the profound economic and political changes of the early industrial age brought countless European winegrowers into dire straits. The liberal economic policy hit a non-organized, as well as in many wine-growing areas still technically very poorly trained winemakers.
The situation was aggravated by cheap ones mass wines from large wineries, increasing wine adulteration and as a culmination of the problems the appearance of imported from America phylloxera and the two fungal diseases more genuine and wrong mildew in the second half of the 19th century. The destruction of entire crops caused the emigration of many thousands of winemakers in Central Europe. The dependence of the small winemakers on the barrel wine merchants and the social unrest finally led to the founding of numerous winegrower cooperatives. As early as 1852, four winegrower associations were set up on the Moselle. The companies failed after a short time. That's how the cooperative idea came to fruition towards the end of the 19th century. The majority of today's cooperatives emerged in the 1930s under the aftermath of the Great Depression, which left many small winemakers with sales problems.
Winery cooperatives are strongest in those winegrowing areas, where vineyard landowners are on average, often with only less than one to a few hectares of vineyards very small and selling prices low, and not least also where there are high EU subsidies. In France More than half of the production is accounted for by the Caves Coopératives. In the early 1990s there were more than a thousand of them. They are especially common in the southern wine-growing regions Languedoc-Roussillon. Provence and Rhone Valley, as well as on the island Corsica, Also in Italy (1000), Spain (1,000) and Portugal (300) Cooperatives have a high production share of at least more than 50%.
In Germany, the "Weingärtnergenossenschaft Neckarsulm-Gundelsheim" founded in 1855 (merged in the cooperative winery Heilbronn-Erlenbach-Weinsberg in 2007) and the "Winzerverein Mayschoß an der Ahr" founded in 1868 (1982 in the Winzergenossenschaft Mayschoß-Altenahr gone up) to the oldest wine cooperatives. In Germany there are today about 200 wine cooperatives, which manage about a third of the total of about 100,000 hectares of vineyards, also with a third of production. The largest production share is held by the cooperatives in the growing areas Ahr. to bathe. palatinate. Saale-Unstrut and Wuerttemberg, The term "comrade" got now a rather negative aftertaste and was replaced by other neutral names such as Baden wine cellar or Moselland replaced.
In Austria became the first wine cooperative in 1898 in Traismauer ( Traisental, Lower Austria), founded in the middle of the 20th century in the Winzergenossenschaft Krems, today Winemaker Krems was incorporated with 1,200 members and 900 hectares of vineyards. Other large Austrian wine cooperatives are the Domain Wachau with about 250 members and 420 hectares of vineyards and the Winzerkeller Neckenmarkt (Mittelburgenland) with 300 members and 300 hectares of vineyards. In the United States Of course, the idea of cooperatives is not as strong as it is in Europe. Winzer cooperatives played a special role in South Africa, where the KWV played an extremely dominant role for a hundred years. Wine cooperatives are considered in many countries as producer in the sense of the wine law.