Producer Profiles

La Riojana - Cooperativa Vitivinifruticola de La Rioja

La Riojana, or the Cooperativa Vitivinifruticola de la Rioja, is a wine-producing cooperative located in the agricultural province of La Rioja, in northern Argentina. The main winery is based in the town of Chilecito, in a valley between the high mounts Famatina and Velazco Massif. La Riojana has a total planted area of 4,215 hectares, divided into seven wineries with six located in the La Rioja province and one in Tupungato, Mendoza. Their combined production capacity is an estimated 52 million liters of wine, which represents processing capabilities of about 60 million kilos of grapes per year –an estimated annual production of 4.7 million cases.

La Riojana became the first Fair Trade Certified™ winery in Argentina in 2006, and is the world’s largest producer of organic Fair Trade wines, with over 3 million liters certified. It is also one of the largest cooperatives in the country with over 510 members. The majority of farmers are small-scale producers with less than three hectares of land. Farmers rely on the cooperative for a large number of services and benefits included the guaranteed purchase of grapes at higher prices, transportation of grapes from vineyards to cooperative storage facilities, access to credit loans, free technical assistance, large purchases of diesel and fertilizers to keep costs down, frost and storm insurance, participation in recreational activities, and one vote per member in collective decisions, regardless of their size of production.
 

Programs

Promoting Education

La Riojana used Fair Trade premium funds to build internet cafés for the famers in the towns of Malligasta and Tilimuqui. They have also purchased land to build a school for agricultural studies and used Fair Trade premiums to stock the Arturo Illia School library, in the province of Salta, with books.

Medicine for Members

La Riojana purchased hypertension management medicines for the local clinics of Tilimuqui and Malligasta.

Water Wells

La Riojana members drilled and constructed a well to bring potable water resources to the town of Tilimuqui in Chilecito.