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Grupo Coviñas – Reinventing cooperativism, pioneering holistic sustainability

In partnership with D.O. Utiel-Requena

Exploring how D.O. Utiel-Requena's flagship producers place sustainability at the core of their operations and ethos.

Founded in 1965, Grupo Coviñas brought together ten cooperatives from what is now DO Utiel-Requena under the umbrella of a single entity. Having started as a response to the need for shared resources and infrastructures, the project soon evolved to become one of Spain’s – and Europe’s – most respected cooperative wineries.

A pioneering, encompassing approach

This respect and recognition have been driven by the quality of the wines produced but also by the pioneering operational approach Coviñas has championed since its founding. Sustainability has been at the core of the cooperative’s ethos from the very beginning, even when the concept had not yet become one of the wine sector’s catchphrases. While bringing together 3,000 families – farming a total of 10,000ha of vines – and validating their efforts to preserve an invaluable viticultural heritage, Coviñas pioneered a holistic understanding of sustainability in which environmental, social and economic criteria are considered in tandem.

Almost six decades on, against the backdrop of climate change, socio-economic turmoil and geopolitical volatility, this approach is ever more relevant and inspiring. With the wine industry, and small growers especially, under enormous pressure, the mobilisation of collective resources to support individuals, sustain local economies and value natural resources – such as Coviñas has done in Utiel-Requena – is a blueprint for sustainable development.

The cooperative’s 3,000 members remain Coviñas’ motor and raison d’être. They are, in turn, the custodians of a significant part of DO Utiel-Requena’s vines (producing 38% of the appellation’s wines in 2023/24) and landscape. The cooperative’s farming standards – whose goal is to convert all 10,000ha managed by its members to organic in coming years – and commitment to the preservation of old vines and indigenous varieties thus have a far-reaching impact on the preservation of the region’s natural assets and viticultural heritage.

Innovation and collaboration

While implementing comprehensive innovation, commercial and strategic plans, Coviñas is effectively ensuring the livelihood of all its members and making the local economy more resilient and competitive. At the same time, it future-proofs the cooperative itself, which stands out for the quality consistency of its portfolio and the strict production and sustainability standards it has established, from grape to glass. These include, but are not limited to, the use of renewable energy in the winery, the selection of lightweight bottles and the implementation of recycling schemes.

Many of the cooperative’s sustainability initiatives are part of wider innovation efforts that have seen the adoption of state-of-the-art production and logistics technologies as well as collaboration with other stakeholders. Innovation has been catalysed and validated in partnerships with winemakers and companies from elsewhere in Spain and abroad. These projects have allowed a vibrant exchange of knowledge and increased the commercial and reputational relevance of Coviñas as an international stakeholder – recognised as a leading, quality-led cooperative winery by its peers. Perhaps more importantly, these ongoing collaborations recognise the importance of the work of every single member of Coviñas, giving meaning (both symbolic and financial) to their effort and philosophy. They place the work of Utiel-Requena’s wine growers on the international stage, supporting the success not only of the local economy but also of the local identity.

Two wines that capture the sustainability approach of Grupo Coviñas

Auténtico Bobal-Tempranillo
80% Bobal, 20% Tempranillo
The Auténtico range consists of a series of organic-certified wines, and stands for the full certification goal Coviñas has established for its total vineyard area. This red is a Bobal-led blend from selected organic-certified parcels, with 20% of Tempranillo. It shows the purity and freshness of Utiel-Requena’s reds, vinified in a traditional way, with moderate intervention and a focus on drinkability. Quintessentially Mediterranean, it has a lively core of red fruit lined with dried mountain herbs and a balsamic touch.

Aula Crianza
Bobal, Tempranillo
Aula is a collection of wines that pays tribute to the elders of Utiel-Requena, whose knowledge of the vines and land remains as the key reference point for all those making wines in the DO, today and in the future. It highlights their passion, effort and wisdom by using wines from selected old plots, carefully vinified to bring out their full character and complexity.  The collection’s red Crianza blends 80% of the local grape Bobal with 20% Tempranillo. The varieties are vinified separately and, following assemblage, aged for 9 to 12 months in American oak barriques. The result is an elegant wine that highlights the savoury core of Bobal with added layers of red and blue fruit and sweet spice.

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