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What can Cooperatives Bring to the Future of Fine Wine?

Although declining in numbers, cooperatives still represent around half of the wine production of France, Italy, and Spain, and a third of Germany’s. Their contribution to their wine industries can hardly be overstated.

In 2016, UNESCO added co-operatives to its list of intangible cultural assets, recognising them as entities that “allow for community building through shared interests and values creating innovative solutions to societal problems, from generating employment and assisting seniors to urban revitalisation and renewable energy projects”.

It is fair to say, however, that they have never really been associated with fine wine production, and that generations of both consumers and trade grew up associating cooperatives wines with cheap mass production.

In the last couple of decades, leading wine cooperatives have transformed themselves, and are producing much higher quality wine. At the same time, a younger generation of consumers are developing an interest in cooperatives, intrigued by their community ethos.

Are cooperatives the next big thing for fine wine?

This video is a recording of a live Insight Series organised by ARENI on May 10th 2022, gathering four international experts and moderated ARENI Global CEO Pauline Vicard. You can also listen to this recording as a podcast.

Major themes

  • What are cooperatives and how do they work?
  • What were their historical roles and purpose?
  • In which fields are forward-thinking cooperatives leading the way?
  • How can we reconcile cooperatives and fine wine?
  • What can a collective approach bring to the future of fine wine?
  • Have consumers’ perception about cooperatives changed?


We are pleased to introduce our four panelists

Brendan Carter, Chief Thinker, Winemaker & Distiller – Team Unico, Australia

Brendan Carter

Brendan and Laura Carter are two passionate winemakers who are on a mission to showcase products to the rest of the world that embrace Australian native ingredients and pay homage to the indigenous custodianship who maintained the land for thousands of years.

They built and developed Unico Zelo, a “modern-style” cooperative, B-Corp Certified, on a mission to improve sustainability in both viticulture and trade.

Christian Holthausen, Founder, Westbrook Marketing Partners, France

As the founder of Westbrook Marketing Partners, Christian Holthausen is an
experienced Sales, Marketing & Communications Director with a successful track
record of more than twenty years in the international wine and spirits industry
developing and implementing comprehensive brand value strategies, and with a
strong focus on the Champagne category. Holthausen currently works with several of
the most prestigious producers in Champagne and also with a number of international clients.

Roman Horvath MW, Winery Director, Domäne Wachau, Austria

Roman Horvath MW

Roman is the winery director of Domäne Wachau. Roman joined Domäne Wachau in 2004, where he has been responsible for the successful restructuring and strategic re-positioning of the winery.

Domäne Wachau now is among the leading wine producers in Austria and was named the best cooperative in the world.

Phillipe Leveau, CEO, Cordier by Invivo, France

Philippe Leveau

Invivo is one of France’s leading cooperative group, active in both the agricultural and viticultural sector. Their wine division, Cordier by Invivo, regroups nine cooperatives rooted in the various French terroirs (Bordeaux, Rhône, South West, Languedoc, Beaujolais), gathering 3,600 winemakers and 25,000 hectares of vines.

In 2020, the InVivo Group became a “société à mission”, a unique corporate status introduced by the French government for “purpose driven companies”.

ARENI Insight Series are part of our annual research programme. These events provide an exclusive platform for international thought-leaders to share ideas and address global issues collectively.

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