Independent winegrower: what are the advantages of joining a cooperative winery?

Being an independent winegrower is not always easy, whether it is in the management of the vineyard or in the management of resources.
Being part of a cooperative winery offers you many advantages, find out which ones!

Published: 31/08/2022

Before presenting the advantages of joining a cooperative winery, let’s quickly review its definition.

What is a cooperative winery?

A cooperative winery is an association of several winegrowers, who pool their investments in order to devote themselves entirely to their profession.
Each winegrower cultivates his vines and then supplies his harvest to the cooperative winery, which is responsible for transforming this production into wine and then marketing it to operators at the right price.
Joining a cooperative winery has many advantages for the winegrowers, here is a non-exhaustive list of these advantages!

The advantages of joining a cooperative winery

  1. Lower costs for the winegrowers and efficient production tools

As said before, a cooperative winery like ours takes care of the transformation and the production of the wine, which results in lower costs for the wine growers, and guarantees them a stable income all year round.
The cooperative cave also offers the possibility of modernizing the installations in the vineyards and of grouping purchases.
For example, at Univitis, the winegrowers have a bottling facility with cutting-edge technology!
This grouping allows to obtain interesting prices for the members, in particular on fertilizers or stakes and trellising. The winegrowers thus benefit from the negotiations led by the winery for the purchase of dry materials and raw materials.


2. A winery and teams dedicated to help winegrowers

In the cooperative wineries, and particularly at Univitis, wine consultants are present to accompany and help the winegrowers on various points such as

  • The follow-up of cultural practices

The wine consultants can help the wine growers to establish the vineyard management, the phytosanitary program, the field monitoring or the campaign reports. The teams are present and available for winegrowers who need advice and help!

  • Support in the process

A whole team is present for this accompaniment as well as for the updating of the grape varieties or the cartography, the management of the authorizations or the traceability of the inputs.

  • Training courses

The teams offer winegrowers numerous training courses on regulations or technical topics.

  • A technical department dedicated to wine

More broadly, the teams of the cooperative winery also help winegrowers in many ways, especially in the conversion to organic for winegrowers who wish to do so (see our interviews with two of our organic winegrowers or those in conversion).

Professionals of the sector (wine merchants, oenologists, etc.) are present for the winegrowers at all times and at all stages of the wine creation process and a constant watch is kept on techniques, certifications and regulations so that the winegrowers are always up to standard. These professionals also assist the wine growers in the elaboration of the wine according to the profiles of the wines appreciated by the consumers, thanks to studies carried out with the latter.

There is also a marketing and sales department whose aim is to promote the wines, to make them known to the largest number of people but also to sell them at the right price for the winegrowers.
They entrust the marketing and their wines to real professionals, who are also in charge of promoting the wines on the French markets, but also for export! The cooperative winery thus becomes a window for its members.

Les équipes Univitis

3. Management of administrative aspects

A cooperative winery takes charge of the various professional contributions required of winegrowers. It also manages administrative tasks such as: validation of specifications, plot allocations, maturity controls, management of inputs (organization of transport of inputs and reception). Thanks to this management, the winegrowers are relieved of this administrative part.

4. Power to face the competition

The grouping of several winegrowers within a single winery allows them to position themselves as a major player in the market to face the competition.

5. Being a decision maker

Being part of a cooperative winery also means remaining in charge of your own exploitation.
As members of the cooperative winery, winegrowers have the opportunity to make their voices heard through votes and meetings. They work together in a democratic way and on an equal footing with a simple principle: 1 man = 1 vote.
All members have the same rights regardless of the amount of capital they have subscribed.
The cooperative does not belong to shareholders but to its members. The strength of the cooperative winery also lies in the solidarity and mutual aid that exists between the various members: this mutual aid is permanent and unites the winegrowers of a cooperative winery.

6. The probationary year

The cooperative’s articles of association have been amended to allow new members a probationary period of one year before being fully admitted. During this period, they have the same rights and obligations as other members, and at the end of this period, their admission is generally final, unless the Board of Directors decides otherwise.

7. Partial contribution

New members may also choose to contribute part of their production to the cooperative. For example, a winemaker who owns 15 hectares of vines may decide to join with only 10 hectares, while continuing to look after the remaining 5 hectares independently. Previously, winemakers were required to deliver their entire production to the cooperative winery.

The Univitis cooperative winery

With its 160 winegrowers and 60 employees, Univitis is one of the largest cooperative wineries in the southwest of France.
The cooperative winery is guided by the values of sharing, respect, mutual aid and solidarity and not exclusively by profit. The objective of Univitis is to ensure a perennial activity for all its winegrowers and employees.
Univitis belongs to its members, not to its shareholders. Every profit is reinvested in the company or directly paid back to its members. The winery has set up a model of solidary economy!

  • Who can join the Univitis cooperative winery?

Any natural or legal person who is a producer or a farmer in the district of the agricultural cooperative society can be a member.

“The strength of Univitis is immaterial, it is human.
Univitis is a family of winegrowers and employees with a common ambition: to perpetuate tradition and keep their terroir alive.”
Thierry Fourcaud, winegrower and vice-president of Univitis

La cave coopérative Univitis

Would you like to join a dynamic team that combines innovation and traditional know-how? Join us!
Go to the contact page ;
Or contact us directly at +33 (05)5 57 56 02 32
or by mail at the following address :

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