von Franz Heincz, Chairman

In the eyes of some modern contemporaries the word "cooperative" inheres occasionally something overhauled, of yesterday, something planned economy. Therefore, it makes sense to note a few personal thoughts to it. If not for an anniversary, then when?

When my father, in 1968, with a handful of also far-sighted men launched the winery Neckenmarkt, the idea of being no longer exposed to the price pressure of wine merchants henceforth stood in the foreground, to be in the first place of Franz Heincz, chairman bringing prices dealers. The success of this plan was proven by the fact that the following years more and more vintners joined the cooperative, therefore, the total number of members increased steadily.

But soon it came to the conclusion that cooperative-produced wine is not per se of excellent quality. Those who utilized the best grapes in their own cellar but handed in only inferior grapes to the cooperative, did not just contribute to improve quality.

Since more than 20 years, the philosophy of our winery is focused on quality. The appropriate programs have been reported on elsewhere (see Vineyard & Vinification).
If the pursuit of quality is accepted by all members, a cooperative like ours offers a number of advantages.
We get first-class grapes of at least 300 hectares of vineyards. This allows the production of 2 million liters of fine wines.

As a cooperative we are able to supply larger quantities of consistent quality. Only in this way we could, for example, become accredited partners of the wine and food trade.

One thing we certainly must not accept in a cooperative is: That one brushes the ideas of free market economy under the carpet. Although we are actually no private enterprise, even if no top salaries are paid to the top management - you can be successful only in the light of market rules. This includes for example, that the number of members decreases gradually. Thank God, the square footage of vineyards does not decrease, which shows that as a grower who supplies all his grapes to the cooperative is not behind the eight ball.

Recently we are aware increasingly of cases from the private sector, where managers have poured billions down the drain, and were then called for government help. In a cooperative-based business all officials are volunteers, for employees certainly no excessive salaries are paid, and if a margin is left, all members will benefit of the profit in equal measure.

If one can produce quality in great quantity and, moreover, at a reasonable price (nota bene: it's about "reasonable" prices, not crash prices!), then it makes sense to push towards the shelves of supermarkets. This business is certainly obtained by the free market with all its pleasant and unpleasant rules.
Nevertheless, we have built a flourishing partnership in recent years, which is characterized by recognition of the ideas on both sides.

If Australian, South American or Spanish wines appear in the grocery, it is because there are structures supporting the ability to offer quality wines at reasonable prices and - just as important - in quantities, as needed by the market. The wine cellar Neckenmarkt participates in this game, by now quite successfully.

Of course, we remain our "regulars" faithful. We are proud of the many wine lovers, who know Neckenmarkt, the wine cellar and its senior staff personally.
We are pleased with every glass of wine, served in restaurants or bars, and we hopefully will continue to reach many friends of the Neckenmarkt wine via retailers and wine shops.

The world keeps spinning. New countries emerge on the economic horizon, emerging countries that were previously on the threshold of modern industrialization and now exceed that threshold. There is growing up an economically successful middle to high social class as potential customers, which we should not lose sight of. We cannot wait until the call is heard from Russia or the Czech Republic after wines from abroad. For Argentines, or possibly Italians have then been already there. Therefore, we have established contacts in these countries, first exports have been made. And of course, previously hardly advertised markets are also interesting.

It is more than forty successful years now, since the winery, respectively the wine cellar Neckenmarkt, was founded. The opportunities today are far from 1968th. The world is no longer divided into East and West and has almost become a global village. The model "wine cooperative" still is modern and good enough to be able to survive economically.

This requires - as ever since - a little foresight, a pinch of courage and risk-taking, responsible and entrepreneurial thinking. It also is from utmost importance to have full support for the ideas by a committed membership.

A cooperative is only as good as its diligent and competent members and employees. I would, therefore, like to take this opportunity to thank all members, the board and the supervisory board, all our business partners and all employees for their organizational commitment cordially.

The Neckenmarkt Wineries and its members I wish all the best for the coming decades.

In the photo: The statue of St. Donatus, affectionately referred to as "Schauerokehrer", he should turn away ("okehren") hail (rain) from the vineyards.

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