At this time, more than ever, we must support local products in order to continue the work carried out by 8,000 winegrowers and 800 wineries in Catalonia. Wineries that, with the confinement and closure of restaurants and bars, are finding it difficult to reach their estimated sales and meet their structural costs
The culture, tradition and landscape of wine are part of the history of Catalonia. Our country has 12 Denominations of Origin (DO) that guarantee the quality of our wines: Alella, Catalonia, Cava, Conca de Barberà, Costers del Segre, Empordà, Montsant, Penedès, Pla del Bages, Priorat, Tarragona and Terra Alta. In each of these areas, the geography, climate and grape varieties mean that the wines produced in Catalonia are diverse but have a common denominator: quality products thanks to the dedication and desire to excel of the producers and winemakers.
- Catalonia, the cradle of viticulture
CEVIPE (Centro Vinícola del Penedès) is a second-degree cooperative company that brings together 16 wine cooperatives from the Alt and Baix Penedès, Garraf, Tarragonès, Alt Camp and Conca de Barberà regions. Its mission is to offer technical and human resources to improve the economic income of the winegrowers and, therefore, they focus their objectives on a process of continuous improvement, from the quality of vine cultivation to the production and marketing of wines and cavas. The commitment to the territory is an exclusive asset, protecting its products under the quality label of the different Designations of Origin of Catalonia and the Cava Designation of Origin.
The entity was founded in 1985, when the five cooperatives of Baix Penedès Albinyana, Bellvei, Lorenzo, Calafell and Vendrell founded the second-tier cooperative in order to facilitate the processes of innovation and modernisation, while reducing costs and achieving a concentration in the volume of supply in the cava market. The good performance and increased demand for these wines led to the process of integrating more cooperatives into the group.
Thanks to the union of these cooperatives, it was possible to invest in refrigeration equipment to ferment the must at a controlled temperature, a system that was beginning to spread to other parts of Europe and which was still residual in Catalonia. The traditional winemaking system was left behind and a new era began in terms of wine quality. The market demanded fruity wines with a pleasant taste, and this could only be achieved by fermenting the musts at low temperatures to prevent the aromas from vaporising. The demand for these wines was already much higher and was still growing.
- From Catalonia to Europe: Catalan wines lead the way
This economic incentive, together with the vision for the future of CEVIPE’s leaders, facilitated the implementation of a modern, quality production system that favoured the conquest of markets and, as a result, an increase in customers. This led to the process of integrating more cooperatives into the group and meant an important economic effort in the cooperative sector in this region, which found it essential to modernise its wineries in order to obtain the base wine demanded by the sector’s marketing companies.
At the end of the 1980s and beginning of the 1990s, CEVIPE began to open up to Europe to make its wines known, mainly in Germany, France and Luxembourg. Currently, the export volume is around 20%. The opening up in Europe professionalised and broadened the cooperative’s focus, which plays a key role in balancing supply and demand for the benefit of maintaining the area’s wine-growing operations. CEVIPE has more than 2,200 wine-growing members, who cultivate more than 6,200 hectares with an average production of 55 million kilos each year and an average annual turnover of 30 million euros. They are present in 5 different Denominations of Origin in addition to their 3 agro-shops located in the town of El Vendrell and in L’Arboç. They have a website where you can buy from anywhere with an internet connection and even order home delivery.
- A Sant Jordi marked by wine
There are 62 wine cooperatives in Catalonia, which produce 50% of Catalan wine and account for more than half of all winegrowers. The Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives of Catalonia (FCAC) held a competition on Sant Jordi’s Day last year, in the middle of the pandemic, asking participants “With which cooperative book and wine will you celebrate Saint George’s Day?” An initiative widely celebrated at home under the hastag #santjordiacasa which promoted, in a fun way, a new way of celebrating the festival through wine. The winner was Jaume Rojales, with a Facebook post recommending the wine “Lágrimas de Otoño” from the cooperative San José Wines de Bot. The book “La Catedral del Mar” was chosen through a random online draw among all participants.
The result: users recommended more than 50 cooperative wines, and FCAC’s Twitter and Facebook profiles received numerous posts from consumers recommending books along with these 50 wines from all over the country. The cooperatives that were most represented were Bodegas Domenys, Celler Batea, Bodega Cooperativa de Gandesa, Empordàlia and San José Wines. Wines from Bodega Cooperativa de Garriguella, Vinícola del Priorat, Cooperativa de Bràfim, Covides, Bodega Cooperativa de Espolla, Cooperativa Falset Marçà, Vinícola de Sarral, Cooperativa Agrícola de Corbera de Ebro, Cooperativa de Salomón and Cooperativa de Ulldemolins, among others, were also recommended.
On the eve of a new Saint George’s Day and with the hope of being able to celebrate it in the street as was traditional, the wine sector opens up a new possibility to people, showing that, although we have to stay home, if we do it in the company of a good local wine, the celebration will be double. So, whether the streets are filled with roses and books or not, which cooperative wine will you be celebrating Sant Jordi with this year?