This paper aims to develop an understanding of cooperation and collaboration in the natural wine industry in Spain as well as a deeper understanding of the challenges facing natural wine producers in the 21st century.
Field interviews using a structured questionnaire were conducted with five Spanish producers of natural wine in five different regions during fall 2018 and late spring 2019. Interviewers prompted respondents to expound upon the potential of incorporating cooperative relationships to help producers grow their businesses, share production and marketing techniques and explain how they educate consumers about natural wines.
Content analysis among five field-researched case studies reveals common goals and challenges, but Spanish natural wine producers have not reached a consensus on the benefits of cooperative relationships. Respondents acknowledge that their indecisiveness and consumer confusion about natural wines are barriers to working together.
Generalizations from a sample comprised five companies cannot be made, nor can we claim that respondents were unbiased. Respondents were reluctant to release financial and production data; thus, the outcomes of Coopetition strategies were indeterminate. It may be that a Coopetition strategy is only positive up to a fixed point, upon which a diminishing-returns effect is manifested. Observations were made during a period when the Spanish wine industry was contracting, as political uncertainty in that country and post-Brexit clouded the future of tourism in and exports from certain Spanish wine regions.
Collaboration and cooperation would afford Spanish natural wine access to shared resources, networks and farming technology and knowhow to enhance the image and reputation of natural wine in Spain and internationally.
To explore how cooperative and collaborative relationships might be achieved, five case studies of natural wine producers in Spain illuminate their real-life challenges and goals. Cooperative relationships among these producers have the potential to contribute to industry growth and value creation, while creating shared competitive advantages. As these niche producers weigh how to come to a consensus about pooling resources and working together to educate the prospective natural wine consumer, doing so may well lead the next wave of entrepreneurial, innovative activity in an industry that is ripe for change.
To explore how natural wine producers face the challenge to increase transparency in its production and to help consumer to know what natural wine is. In the Old World, the French Fraud Control Office recognized the category “vin méthode nature” (wine nature method) as a special wine. It was the first step towards helping consumers to reduce the information asymmetries existing between the productive and consumption fields, increasing transparency in natural wines production.