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Many Small Winegrowers – One Large Unit

The Cooperative Form is the Workhorse of Alto Adige Winemaking

What does a sense of community and solidarity have to do with winegrowing and progress? In Alto Adige, the answer is very much.

The wine industry in Alto Adige that is so successful today had to struggle with lean times back in the nineteenth century. High import tariffs, expensive export duties, infestations of pests, and vine diseases threatened the existence of many small, private winegrowers. It was because of this need that in 1893, several winegrowers in Andriano banded together into the first winery cooperative in Alto Adige. Others quickly followed. Today, a total of twelve winery cooperatives in Alto Adige consolidate the multitude of winegrowers of different sizes into a strong cultural and economic force. They represent 3,332 hectares (8,234 acres) of winegrowing area and 74% of the total wine production of Alto Adige.

The form of the cooperative makes the survival possible of nearly 3,200 families in winegrowing through sustainable economic activity, continuing education, joint marketing, and technological innovation which an individual winegrower could never carry out all alone.

“The Association of Alto Adige Winery Cooperatives, as the special interest group for Alto Adige winery cooperatives, dedicates itself to every winery being able to concentrate upon its strengths in order to continue to develop winegrowing in Alto Adige as a whole in an ecological and socially acceptable manner. That means living soils, high quality, great variety, and good purchase prices so that in spite of the reduction of yields in the vineyard, the winegrower can nevertheless find an attractive basis for livelihood in winegrowing and, as a farmer, can continue to make an important contribution to the beauty of our province as a caretaker of the land.”

ANDREAS KOFLERPRESIDENT, ASSOCIATION OF ALTO ADIGE WINERY COOPERATIVES

Winegrowing History with Deep Roots

Winegrowing in Alto Adige plays an important social role and is deeply rooted in coexistence and in the traditions that have been handed down over the generations.