Cooperatives, Opportunism and Quality Product: Why the Early Spanish Cooperative Wineries Produced Ordinary Wine

Abstract: Cooperative wineries have always produced mostly low quality wine. Since they began to receive abundant state subsidies in the period following the Second World War, they have produced a substantial part of all European wine, but prior to that their market share was low. This article discusses whether both the specialisation of the first Spanish cooperative wineries in the production of ordinary wine and its poor market penetration was a result of their inability to prevent members from carrying out opportunistic behaviours. It contends that cooperative wineries were in fact capable of fighting opportunism and that producing ordinary wine was the best option for the vast majority of them, even though they did not manage to offer winegrowers advantages that were significant enough to offset the inconveniences of being members.