The cooperatives are many and significant players in the Languedoc. They account for a large proportion of the production here. But to survive in today’s competition, they, like everyone else, have to invest in what consumers want. For example, in organic wines. That’s what Cave Héraclès in the Gard in the eastern part of Languedoc has done. It is France’s largest producer of organic wines, but it is not a well-known name. Almost all of their production is sold to the négoce (i.e. in “bulk”), including a big part to Gérard Bertrand.
This is common practice. Many of the big négociant or supermarket brands are sourced from co-operatives although that is never something you can tell from the label.
Héraclès started with organic farming in 1994 and now produces around 45,000 hl of organic wine a year (5.6 million bottles). Of this, 15,000 hl (1.8 million bottles) are without any added sulphites. In time for the harvest 2018 a new spectacular vinification plant was opened.
(Heracles was a Greek hero, the son of Zeus and Alcmene. The Romans called him Hercules.)
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