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 important of these is the huge " Baden wine cellar "In Breisach in the German wine-growing area to bathe, which counts among 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 met a non-organized, as well as in many wine-growing areas still technically very poor trained winegrowers.
The situation was aggravated by cheap ones mass wines from large wineries, increasing wine adulteration and as the culmination of the problems the appearance of those 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 eventually led to the founding of numerous wine cooperatives. As early as 1852, four winegrower associations were founded on the Moselle. The companies failed after a short time. That's how the cooperative idea finally became established 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 caused many small winemakers 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 are 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 particularly 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 share of production is owned by the cooperatives in the growing areas Ahr. to bathe. palatinate. Saale-Unstrut and Wuerttemberg, The term "comrade" got a rather negative aftertaste and was replaced by other neutral names like for example Badischer 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 Winegrower 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 USA Of course, the idea of cooperatives is not as strong as it is in Europe. Winzergenossenschaften 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.