This month, our group of Italy fans is exploring the wine cooperatives of Italy. Virtually every course, text, or article on cooperatives stresses how they produce just average wines. The growers are paid by the ton for their grapes, so there is no incentive to grow for quality. This is true in many grape growing regions of the world. Italy seems to be the exception with multiple examples of high quality wine cooperatives. Our group set out to find out why.
With grapevines planted on the hills, grapes were of good quality, but were unable to be machine harvested for inexpensive wines. Eventually, growers banded together into cooperatives in order to survive. Fortunately, they saw the value of high quality wines and set some key principals in place.