Allegrini 2018

If the cooperative “thinks” like a business, and buys members’ vineyards besides grapes

Cantina Vignaioli del Morellino di Scansano launches “Poderi di Toscana”, between safeguarding wine heritage and expansion
Cantina Vignaioli del Morellino di Scansano launches “Poderi di Toscana”

The main function of a cooperative winery is to provide members with a fair income, paying a fair price for grapes, and to produce quality wines capable of standing in the marketplace. A seemingly simple equation, but simple it is not. Solved, in the heart of the Tuscan Maremma, by the Cantina Vignaioli del Morellino di Scansano, a point of reference for the entire area, which controls 700 hectares. A good portion of them are destined for the production of Morellino, the others for Igp wines, mostly Sangiovese and Vermentino-based, which end up on the shelves of large-scale retail outlets and on the wine lists of restaurants halfway around the world, to the satisfaction of the cooperative’s 170 member winegrowers.
Farmers, winemakers, who, for a thousand different reasons, sometimes find themselves in the position of having to sell those few hectares they have been leading for decades. Very often, the reason is even trivial: old age advances, children have taken different paths, and the work in the vineyard becomes untenable. Punctually, those who have invested in the Morellino vineyards have almost always been the big entrepreneurs in the area, more rarely small companies or the cooperative members themselves, with the Vignaioli del Morellino di Scansano watching.
At least until “we got tired of standing idly by, and decided to take action”, director Sergio Bucci tells WineNews, “with an ambitious project, whereby the cooperative invests directly in the vineyards”. The project is called “Poderi di Toscana”, and it took its first step a few weeks ago, “with the purchase of three hectares of vines in Morellino di Scansano, in the municipality of Magliano, from one of our members, paid 300,000 euros, which is the market price”.
“The establishment of this new company, which reports directly to the winery”, continues managing director Sergio Bucci, “is the first step toward the creation of a new brand of excellence. It is in this direction that we will direct some innovative projects in the future, always closely linked to the territory and the most typical grape varieties of the area. The idea arose from the need to safeguard the cooperative’s wine heritage, but the long-term goal is the creation of a new company, 100% controlled by the cooperative itself. We are always leaning toward management rather than acquisition, but if the intention is to sell we will know how to be ready”.
The name, “Poderi di Toscana”, is not accidental, because if the first steps are short-range, the next ones set no limits. “We are not only looking at our members’ vineyards, indeed, in the future we may look elsewhere, to neighboring DOC and DOCGs, so Maremma and Montecucco, to even more prestigious ones, such as Montalcino and Bolgheri. Thinking then of a corporate nucleus where we could then process the grapes from the new vineyards”. An ambitious vision, which Sergio Bucci defines as “a cooperative way of working but one that reasons in an entrepreneurial way, with the results that in any case will be redistributed among the members, starting with those of these first three hectares”.

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