In the same way that a private domaine can support a family, a co-operative winery can support an entire village. So when the Cave de Cairanne was effectively declared bankrupt in 2014, a whole community of growers was left hanging from a thread.
‘Closing a co-op is like closing a church. It supports businesses, families, generations,’ says Denis Crespo. He’s an unlikely saviour, as his roots are in natural winemaking. But he provided the necessary electric shock to get the co-op’s heart pumping again. Today, it’s a model of large-scale, no-added-sulphite winemaking. But its recovery was far from guaranteed.