French wine co-operatives
619 wine co-operatives
85 000 co-operatives members, more than half of French wine-growers
17680 employees in the co-operatives
51% of the wine production in France (43 % taking into account the Charentes region, which produces mainly alcohol for brandies)
Nearly 6 billions of combined sales
Who are we ?
Created in 1932, the French Confederacy of wine co-operatives (CCVF) is the representative organization of the wine co-operatives on a national level.
On a regional or local level, federations of wine co-operatives have a constant and close connection with the wine co-operatives. Through this network, the wine co-operatives are able to be represented, defended and promoted on a national scale in the building of public policies, among civil society and the medias.
As 98 % of wine co-operatives are members of their local federation, the CCVF can boast that it is truly their legitimate representative.
A co-operative operates all year long
A wine co-operative produces and sells wine made from the grapes grown by its members. It mutualizes such tasks as winemaking, storage, selling, and, in some cases, the bottling process.
« Winemaking in common » does not imply that the grapes are all mixed together to make a single wine. The co-operative vinifies separately grapes from specific vineyards that are later sold under different names (château, domaine) or grapes that are selected their specific qualities or growing process (organic grapes, or “terroirs” for example).
By gathering together, the co-operative wine-growers have been able to access to sophisticated and high tech processes and tools that allows them to get the best out of their grapes. Their traditional know-how, combined with modern techniques, enables them to make authentic good wines.
The wine co-operatives in France are very diverse. Some vinify important volumes of grapes, but others, smaller, gather less than 10 members and produce less than a few hundreds of hectoliters of wine per year. Although the main trend in the co-operative movement is a tendency to merge small unities, all sizes of co-operatives exist in the wine sector.
Out of harvest time, a wine co-operative does not stop its activities. A whole team works all year long at different tasks within the firms. In the vineyards, technicians have an important role of advice to the wine growers. Cellar masters and oenologists are in charge of the winemaking process. The selling department promotes and sells the wine. In the co-operatives that bottle the wine, the packaging units operate all year long. The firm is also responsible for the storage of the wine made in the current or the past years. Lastly, many co-operatives run a store where they welcome their visitors and customers, to whom they explain their activities, offer wine tasting and organize meetings with the winegrowers. You can meet them in one of the 600 co-operatives stores that exist throughout France.
The co-operative status is unique
Co-operatives form part of the social economy. They abide by the principles set by the International Co-operative Alliance, and thus convey co-operative values.
Co-operatives are specific business enterprises, different from “classic” business firms, and have a special status. They are owned and controlled by the very members they serve. This means that decisions made in cooperatives are balanced by the pursuit of profit, and the needs and interests of members and their communities. All the members participate to the life of their co-operative, are financially involved in it, and have their say in the business plan, decided in common by them.
The wine co-operatives activities range from winemaking and wine-selling to collective or individual services available for the members, such as wine-growing advice.
Co-operative frame of mind
Co-operation is more than a mere gathering of techniques and tools, it is a frame of mind, a set of moral values that bring together people desirous to work together. Members unite to meet their common economic and social needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise.
A co-operative is a democratic and sustainable business model, based on ethical values: responsibility, transparency, and solidarity. It plays a major role in the development of the local, national and international economy.
These principles and values are recognized and valued by the co-operatives’ members and employees.
The French co-operative winemakers are proud of their values: solidarity, responsibility, democracy, transparency, sustainability.