Cooperation, Innovation and Tourism in the Grape and Wine Region, Brazil*

Cooperación, innovación y turismo en la región vitícola y vinícola de Brasil

Cuadernos de Desarrollo Rural, vol. 17, 2020

Pontificia Universidad Javeriana

Julice Salvagni a

Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil

Vander Valduga

Universidade Federal do Paraná, Brasil

Cristine Hermann Nodari

Universidade Feevale, Brasil

Received: 04 September 2019

Accepted: 26 October 2020

Published: 20 December 2020

Abstract: This literature review aimed to understand the territorial certification process of Grape and Wine Region in order to analyze the potential associative actions that can lead to innovations in wine tourism. The handcrafted wines suffered from competition and drove small farmers to compete with private capital, fostering the creation of several production cooperatives, consumer credit and, in the interests of microcluster organisation. This is a rural development model for the innovation of tourism projects, whose translation is carried out in the territories of cooperation. Local changes can influence economic dynamism, improve living conditions of the local population and generate social opportunities within the local economy.

Keywords:innovation, tourism, cooperation, grape and wine region, rural development.

Resumen: Esta revisión de la literatura se hizo con el objetivo de entender el proceso de certificación territorial de la Región Vitivinícola para analizar las posibles acciones asociativas que pueden conducir a innovaciones en el turismo vinícola. Los vinos artesanales sufrieron con la competencia y eso llevó a los pequeños vinicultores a competir con el capital privado, promover la creación de varias cooperativas de producción, crédito al consumidor y la organización de microgrupos. Este es un modelo de desarrollo rural para la innovación en proyectos de turismo, que se traducen en territorios de cooperación. Los cambios locales pueden influir en el dinamismo económico, mejoran las condiciones de vida de la población local y generan oportunidades sociales dentro de la economía local.

Palabras clave: innovación, turismo, cooperación, región vitivinícola, desarrollo rural.


This article develops, through a bibliographical review, a historical analysis of the Grape and Wine Region as a tourist arrangement for innovation created from the associativist’ actions among the local producers. To do so, initially a selection of the main authors was made and unveiled some historical aspects of the Grape and Wine Region (Giron, 1987, 1996, 2009; Ribeiro, 2002; Valduga, 2011), which emphasizes aspects of cooperativism in the viticultural production in the region of Serra Gaúcha. In addition, these premises are complemented with updated data from documents related to tourism in the Grape and Wine Region (Atuaserra, 2016; Aprovale, 2016; Ibravin, 2016). Finally, these elements are analized in the light of teories that deal with some aspects related to associativism (Chanial and Laville, 2009; Fischer e Tiriba, 2009b) as an innovation possibility thanks to the tourism. In other words, in the search for the consolidation of another economy based on cooperation and hospitality, especially in its commercial domain (Lashley and Morrison, 2000), which can serve as a vector for local development (Balestrin and Verschoore, 2008; Rigo, 2006; Thomazi, 2006) for the advantages of geographic agglomeration (Hall, 2013).

It was identified that the studies that deal with cooperative relations in winemaking (Giron, 1987, 1996, 2009; Ribeiro, 2002; Valduga, 2011; Tonini and Lavandoski, 2011) do not contemplate new development perspectives focused on innovation and do not establish communication with the aspects of hospitality and tourism. This paper therefore seeks a theoretical approach for advancing the analysis of this context.

The Grape and Wine Region comprises 37 municipalities linked to the Serra Nordeste’s Tourism Association (Atuaserra), a regional tourism governmental body linked to the Ministry of Tourism and responsible for implementing state actions at the extent of regional tourism. It is a nuanced region founded by European Italian immigration of the late 19th century, which landed in various regions of Brazil, South America and other continents, an immigration process aimed at populating the vacant lands of the Brazilian Empire, exporting a poor population group of Europe, producing food for the emerging Brazilian urban centers and gaining respect from European nations, since in Brazil the workers were black slaves and there was a lot of prejudice (Giron, 1996). This ethnic array of Italian origin is the region of these 37 municipalities that have in their regional viticulture differential in Brazil with aspects of hospitality and private tourism. The wine industry in this region is the product of cultural vectors brought from Italy to Brazil by these immigrants, added to state contributions that aimed to create territorial ties of this population with the new space (Valduga, 2014).

Geografically, this immigration occupied the slope of the plateau of Rio Grande do Sul and gave rise to a society different from the Brazilian one of that time, that is to say, small property with free labor based on the family work and polyculture (Giron, 1996; Ribeiro, 2002). The colonial system provided the division of lands into leagues, which, in turn, were divided into average plots of 24 to 30 hectares. This land structure was the matrix of territorial occupation in the referred colonies. The other regions of the State of Rio Grande do Sul have a more recent winemaking industry and are not part of the scope of this study.

Throughout the adaptation process, reterritorialization and regional capitalist insertion, several organisational actions were implemented since the first decades of the 20th century. These actions included the development of agricultural cooperatives, especially wineries, strongly supported by the state apparatus of the time, and many of these cooperatives are still active (Giron, 1987, 1996; Ribeiro, 2002). This fact is relevant to highlight the associative perspective prevailing in the region, that was organized to favor the equal division of land when the immigrants arrived. Then, this analysis allows us to see that the democratic attempt by the state to divide the land promotes the associative arrangements that end up consolidating in the region a Grape and Wine industry as na innovation brand, both in tourism and in hospitality.

This article seeks to promote a discussion about the interaction of concepts of associativism relationships and innovation so as to understand hospitality and tourism in the Grape and Wine region. It is understood that the analysis of the local activity organization, in the sense of the appropriation of specific associative actions in a delimited tourist region, can give rise to guidelines to spread the local development, generating new changes, which means innovation. This study does not intend to identify the impact of local economic development in relation to tourism with indicators and indices, but to unfold it theoretically. Therefore, based on the literature review and the theoretical assumptions made herein, this research seeks to foster future interventions to be applied to the context.

Development in the grape and wine region: factors of change in hospitality and tourism

Different perspectives of hospitality coexist in the literature, highlighting the aspects that focus their studies on morality and ethics (Shyrock, 2012) and on cultural, domestic and commercial domains (Lashley and Morrison, 2000), with their own specificities and coexisting in different spaces and times. The cultural domain takes into account the social contexts where hospitality occurs, with social forces, belief systems, and relationships with food and beverage production and consumption (Lashley et al., 2007). The domestic domain relates to the provision of food, beverages and lodging in the homes and the obligations between guests and host; and the commercial one refers to the provision of hospitality as an economic activity that provides food, drink and lodging in exchange for money, whose objective is to create surplus value. The focus of the studies, as the authors point out, has been the commercial domain. However, they warn on the influence of the domains on the concrete experiences of hospitality that must be considered, so the different perspectives can not be excluded (Lashley, 2008). At the same time, Shyrock (2012) suggests that it is the hospitality industry as well as government bodies through immigration controls and policies that take on the role of caring for the temporary foreign travelers out of the domestic space.

In this context, a central concern should be the coexistence with the stranger in times of great mobilities, such as mass migration, xenophobia, forced and voluntary repatriations and a scenario of continuous growth of tourism in almost all contexts. The places and their daily and banal spaces can take on a leading role as places of refuge and significance, of everyday practices identified with collectivities, as are the wine regions, today present in practically all continents and with a common practice, that of wine tourism.

This work joins the Linch (2017) approach, a daily perspective of hospitality — "mundane welcome"; where small daily actions can be expressive in the sense of welcoming, such as giving space to a stranger on the side on a bus, offering a coffee or even cooperate so that everyday trivialities has a cozy design. The Grapes and Wines Regions have historically fostered the transformation of everyday spaces, mainly by the central element of this analysis, cooperation and its most evident result, wine tourism.

Wine tourism becomes a consolidated practice in most of the world's wine regions, either in traditional or European countries, or emerging, as in Latin America and Asia. A wide range of publications have tried to understand this phenomenon focusing on different aspects such as the evolutionary point of view in wine regions (Alonso et al., 2008; Alonso and Liu, 2011, 2012; Valduga, 2014); under the perspective of enotouristic itineraries, tourism planning and image of tourist destinations (Fuller, 1997; Getz, 2000; Williams, 2001; Bruwer, 2003; Sanders, 2004) and from the perspective of demand and marketing in wine tourism (Leiper and Carlsen, 1998; Getz et al., 1999; Hall et al., 2004; Brown and Getz, 2005; Bruwer and Alant, 2009; Simeon and Sayeed, 2011; Marzo Navarro and Pedraja Iglesias, 2012; Quadri-Felitti and Fiore, 2012; Silva, 2016). Another aspect that emerged is the experiential studies, based on the so-called Experience Economics of Pine II and Gilmore (1999), which goes against the emotional side of planning tourism experiences, sensations, innovation and creativity (Ali-Knight and Carlsen, 2003; Carini et al., 2005), and Caroline (2005), Nowak and Newton (2006), Roberts and Sparks (2006), Asero and Patti (2009), Tonini and Lavandoski (2011).

In the literature on wine tourism, an important gap to explore is the relationship between wine and hospitality. Few studies exist and are mostly limited to local experiences of wine tourism, organisation of host spaces or business relations. Among them, Telfer (2001, 2000), for example, provides a framework of strategic alliances between food, wine and hospitality producers, their operations, suppliers and distributors in the Niagara region. Ben Dewald (2008) unveiled the positive influence of the sommelier's role in restaurants on wine consumption and Wargenau and Che (2006) explored the positive trade relationships established between local wineries and tour operators on the Southwestern Michigan Wine Trail. In this sense, a study based on the reality of cooperation can provide new analytical possibilities, especially from the daily perspective.

From the early times of the Italian immigrant-settlement in the Grape and Wine region, the wine took on a regional role as a product, due to the cultural/religious influence of this mass of immigrants as well as the state technical contribution in fostering the activity by setting up experimental viticulture stations, importing grapevine seedlings and importing technicians who would train these immigrant settlers. By 1885, the wine had already become the main economic product in this region and merited the state’s attention. Since the formation of the first regional urban elite, which built the first private wineries, the wines of the artisanal "colonists" began to face significant competition, and it was necessary to organise the farmers so as to compete with the private capital that was getting established (Valduga, 2011).

Thus, according to Giron (1987, p. 282), it was around 1910 that the wine-growing cooperative movement began, which eventually increased the production to another scale, reaching 90 million liters in 1918, according to Gobbato (1922). Giron (1987) points out that the organisation of wine cooperatives was the work of Italian immigrants, not a cooperative movement by the state, which has had other initiatives before, with German immigrants. However, the organisation in cooperatives did not happen by chance; it was a consequence from a crisis in the rural communities caused by the commercial dependence on the Italian settlers in relation to the urban merchants of wines and other products. Between 1911 and 1913, 16 wine cooperatives were founded in the region, and in a second period, between 1929 and 1964, another 59 were created, among production, consumption and credit cooperatives (Giron, 2009).

At the same time, it was necessary to show the production and export it to other markets, and, in this sense, a series of agricultural events planned by both the State and the municipalities of the region assumed a central role. According to Atuaserra (2016), in 1950 the Grape and Wine Region assumed relative independence on its development and on its geographical order, entering in the modern capitalist mode of production through the solidarity organisation and the establishment of local networks. According to Ibravin (2016), currently 600 industries produce fine wines in the region, and one in four wineries (about 150) operates in the wine tourism sector. The annual production of the region is around 74 million kilos of grapes and 48 million liters of fine wines. The municipalities of Bento Gonçalves and Garibaldi are the largest producers of grapes and fine wines in the region. The investments in the enotouristic sector have considered to update the researches aimed at the identification, shaping and innovation of local attractions and the formatting of scripts and marketing strategies.

Another element of regional importance came from the certification of wine production with Indication of Source and Denomination of Origin, being both granted to Vale dos Vinhedos, a micro-region within the Grape and Wine Region that comprises some part of the municipalities of Bento Gonçalves, Garibaldi and Monte Belo do Sul, covering an area of about 85 km². This certification, a pioneer in Brazil, came from the productive organisation of some wineries in the mid-1990s, resulting in the creation of the Association of Fine Wine Producers of the Vinhedos Valley (Aprovale). Parallel to the certification, Vale dos Vinhedos became the main destination of wine tourism in Brazil, receiving in 2015 about 400,000 people, according to Aprovale (2016). In the wake of the Vale dos Vinhedos certification, other microregions organized and obtained their certifications, such as Pinto Bandeira, Monte Belo do Sul and Farroupilha, each with its specific products.

This certification matrix allowed Brazil to evolve in its production based on their territorial strengths, and currently the country holds certifications for coffee, cachaça, meat, among other products (INPI, 2016). These denominations are shown as a way of fostering the association of rural workers so that they can cope with the big multinational corporations that establish competition for the same products, that is, the way of facing the competition in broader markets, under a dominant structure. And it ends up being the very dynamic of associative cooperation, even for these small farmers to have more security for an investment perspective in the face of the unstable condition of the market in the capitalism.

After all this, it can be verified that the social and economic organisation has adapted to the land matrix, based on small ownership and the need to add value to the production, either through cooperatives or through innovation, in this case represented by the establishment of the territorial certifications of the wine production and the coexistence with the cooperatives and associations, both public and private. The regional tourism is based on this model of production, and the proximity to the direct marketing of production allows an economic reproduction of the short chain while the consumer feedback allows the entrepreneurs to establish a virtuous circle of innovation from the new demands.

That said, the bias of associative action in the work of viticulture carries the conditions of support for regional tourism, since the region is being taken over by multinational firms of investors that are not linked to the local culture. These elements represented by the exchange of knowledge in the form of labor practices related to the rural space create interactions between the subjects beyond the economic perspective that comes from the seminal conception of the presuppositions of the innovation originating from a capitalist system (Schumpeter, 1997). These are grounded by collective needs through participation, cooperation and associativism, generating lasting solutions to the context, which is close to "social" innovations (Hamalainen and Heiscala, 2007). This conjuncture highlights the importance of elucidating these different concepts for the consolidation of the Grape and Wine Region as a reference for innovation in the region's tourism.

Wine carries a symbolic and cultural meaning that no other agricultural product does. Its ties to the production territories catalyze the heritage role, making wine a vector for turning the rural spaces into heritage places. Tourism endorses this function from the perspective of tourists in their communication role (Lazzarotti, 2003). At the same time, wine is an element of social identity for the individuals that inhabit the lived space (Frémont, 1999). The feeling of belonging to a place, so dear to hospitality, finds in the wine one of its main elements within the wine regions, and the so-called “Old World” is full of examples —a special one being the French discourse on terroir (Pitte, 1999) and its social, cultural and political nuances. In this context, wine also has the ability to combine the domains of hospitality, both domestic and commercial, as explicitly stated by Lashley and Morrison (2000), since it is the element that can be further spent as it is offered or used to honor someone, and it is shared in essence (Certeau et al.3, 2002).

Work and associativism in viticulture

It is understood that the associative appropriation of rural work is anchored to the knowledge produced from cooperation networks, formerly imprinted in urban spaces but, that under this approach, allows for a broader analytical scope of the research object.

Even if the current situation remains marked by the capitalist socioeconomic relations and the consequent intensification of the individualist ideology (Velho, 2008), founded by the very subjectivation of social experiences, there are spaces shere collective action materializes relations of solidarity. These territories of cooperation, therefore, preserve the integration of the local inhabitants through the demand to keep the working associations alive. Each rural cooperative shares an agenda of activities carried out at a local or national level with the purpose to keep active the spaces for preserving the ideals of cooperation and ecological products, which is traced back to the cultural identity of the Italian immigrant unavoidable approximations. Therefore, each cooperative has its system of work, although fairs and events are held together, especially with the purpose of integrating different products in the market. Before these associative links exist, workers narrate the prevalence of a conventional and individual production, although barter, understood as the exchange of products between them, is an old practice of their communities.

With the advent of the associative relations established in these cooperative enterprises (and among different cooperatives), we begin to observe the phenomenon of labor exploitation awareness and, as a consequence, the extension of the criticism to the individualizing perspective, whose proposal focuses on the individual and non-collective gains. It should be noted that these associativism relationships, many of them centenarians, arise from the pressure that rural workers suffered as compared to other non-cooperative companies in the region. Thus, the innovation in work processes is implemented precisely as the association of rural workforce to survive amidst of the advent of business by external investors, as observed in the viticulture industry.

This way, the self-management is understood as the practice of associativist companies (cooperatives and associations) in which the autonomy is developed by a set of values and social experiences of a democratic nature (Nahas, 2011). This model maintains the decision-making power of the company diluted among all the associates, who will have to collectively address the demands. Moreover, the production logic of these cooperatives is associated and “founded on the collective ownership of the means of production, on the collective management of the labor process and on the equal distribution of the fruits of labor” (Fischer and Tiriba, 2009a, p. 20), which includes thinking about the profit sharing, for example.

Therefore, it is possible for the local community to share an ontological sense of security because of the rooted relations of solidarity, which not only ensure more security for trade negotiations but also support workers in crisis situations. In this sense, the subjectivities of labor relations that invariably produce some degree of sociopsychological suffering must be welcomed when lived collectively..

This business structure created and preserved by the association and self-management bias not only enhances the marketing possibilities of small producers, but is also capable of leadint to the integration of different members of the community, serving as a stage for the debate about the most varied local demands —such as the creation of health care centers, schools, roads, sanitation, etc— which are taken collectively to the representatives of the municipality.

There is evidence that the “associativism participation would be compatible with the active production of political apathy, through, for example, an apolitical civic etiquette, collectively elaborated” (Kerstenetzky, 2003, p. 131). It is due to the fact that the forms of cooperation can not compensate for all the effects of social inequalities, even if they are vigorously present in the society, since there are characteristics inherent to the State policy that are, at best, within the current model, allied with the dominant neoliberal economy. So, even if there are "merits of associativism, especially in terms of sociability" (Kerstenetzky, 2003, p. 132), these are far from being, in essence, unrelated to the chain of commodity production.

In any case, in addition to the real gains for cooperative producers from a financial point of view, and the flexibilization of working modes in relation to traditional capitalist corporations (with a wage link), there is a construction of knowledge, senses, feelings and values proper to the associativism arrangements. What is at stake, therefore, is "a complex struggle of those who live from work, in a class society, affirming work as the central experience of human formation" (Franzoi and Fischer, 2009, p. 48).

Therefore, the associativism action is "driven by the feeling that the defense of a common good presupposes the collective action" (Chanial and Laville, 2009, p. 21). What is rooted in local social groups is the result of associativism in favor of constructing better and more collaborative spaces (real and subjective) that improve their standard of living. In this sense, the rural communities studied have both a material and immaterial heritage that they inherited from their ancestors. The materiality is in the structure of the companies, where the work is gathered, produced and organized for sale. Whereas the immateriality is in the learning consolidated in the events, meetings and training practices for the cooperative and ecological work.

It is argued, therefore, that the associativism social experiences of the workers are able to create a collective sense of security through the social representations existing in these practices. On the psycho-sociology side, the theory of social representations reflects “on how individuals, groups, social subjects construct their knowledge from their social, cultural, etc., instruction, on the one hand, and on the other, how society becomes known and builds that knowledge with individuals” (Arruda, 2002, p. 128). Thus, social representations "become capable of influencing the behavior of the individual participant of a collectivity" (Moscovici, 2007, p. 40), in this case, becoming more associativist and linked to ecological causes, among others, due to the work actions he or she experiences. In other words, social representations are a way to build collaborative learning.

On the one hand, the concept of cooperation can be linked to the socialization of the worker under the conditions of capitalist production. In other words, to the control of labor (Harvey, 2009) when it is used to serve the capital, for example, in the sense of persuasion of workers to perform certain tasks for the benefit of the working group. In another sense employed in this study, cooperation "indicates the collective action of individuals in order to spontaneously or deliberately share the work necessary for the production of social life" (Jesus and Tiriba, 2009, p. 80).

On the other hand, this same idea of survival by the by cooperative workers is precisely what will lead to the emergence of individualization in traditional economies. For personal reasons and particular interests that overlap the group, the subjects may "infringe" the cooperation model in order to ensure their survival on an individual basis. A clear example of this reversed process of cooperation-survival occurs in the midst of the precariousness of job vacancies or even coexistence with unemployment. To ensure their livelihood (survival), the subject may boycott the work of others, in order to stand out in the group, even if in a backward path. These points must be observed, therefore, in the expansion of empirical work, since participating in an associativist and self-managed company does not mean that individualism has been completely overcome.

The cooperative work can become one of the great weapons to bear the whole set of risks that the very notion of contemporaneity entails. It is noted, however, that these descriptions of individualism are not far from the reality of rural workers, who see their routines permeated by a subjectivated construction of this highly rooted historical and cultural process. And this cooperation, when it is not voluntary, may be created and developed by social relations (Jesus and Tiriba, 2009, p. 84).

The social force of the rural worker, in the case of the associativism for self-managed work, has a vast repertoire of benefits to the social life in the locale, besides easing the forms of production, the exchange of machines and tools for the cultivation of raw material, the organisation of means of marketing the products, etc. Therefore, “unlike a competition, in which one worker or group of workers tries to maximize their advantages to the detriment of others, cooperation presupposes the coordination of the collective effort to achieve common objectives” (Jesus and Tiriba, 2009, p. 81). Thus, for the moment, it is possible to emphasize that the self-manageable arrangements must be shown as a possibility for the survival of the familiar farmer in a reality of agroindustrial domination.

Innovation as an alternative to local development

It is understood that the richness of the innovation processes is in the collaborative development, in the socialization and use of knowledge in a more intensive way and in the exchange of information by different actors, in a determined local, regional and national context. In this sense, according to Buarque (2002), the local development corresponds to an endogenous process of local change, which leads to economic dynamism and to the improvement in the quality of life of the population, in small territorial units and human groups, as observed in this research regarding the association of the work among rural wine and grape producers. To be consistent and cyclic, the local development must mobilize and exploit the local potential and contribute to increase social opportunities and the viability and competitiveness of the local economy and, hence, to innovation. In this sense, the rural tourism perspective becomes a viable and especially important alternative for economically disadvantaged regions, since it combines a new tourist demand with the need for alternatives to economic reproduction of the family farmers.

Innovation has become quite prominent in the literature as a source of competitive advantage in different loci of analysis. Innovation consists in a process of developing new technologies, products, processes and even new arrangements that guarantee a differentiated dynamics to the economic and social results. Tidd et al. (2005) point out that the innovation itself and the innovation processes are not characterized as simple and punctual, as a sequence of activities, but as a complex and recursive process that occurs in cycles of variation determining a constantly dynamic nature.

Thomazi (2006, p. 37) argues that, "in the field of tourism, the productive chain is related to the structure that directly or indirectly participates in the organisation of the product (good or service). In this case, the simplest allusion is related to the tourism and technical supply involved [...] in the productive chains that originate from the local productive arrangements, showing interdependence, interactions, relationships, advantages of location and specialization”, that is, a reference to the idea of clusters developed by different authors, from the seminal assumptions of Porter (1999) and how they influence innovation. (Tristão et al., 2013; Lai et al., 2014). Through the cluster concept it is possible to identify that the tourism product interacts with the local base, be it physical and social, allowing joint actions of interrelated businesses, with great potential for the creation of arrangements organizational, collaboratively and cooperatively.

The organisation of entrepreneurs in arrangements is an important source of lasting advantages, especially when these arise from productive and innovative capacities. However, not all groupings point to this path. The dynamics of the associativism arrangements is not limited to the presence of a number of small businesses operating at certain levels of spatial proximity; the great difficulty is the cooperative competition, where the climate of distrust is often identified in the network. Another difficulty is the search for a full and ideal situation in order to achieve common results.

The biggest challenge these groups face is often the scarce resources to invest in advertising and publicity because the established partnerships do not provide resources for this purpose. This process often delays the progress of actions, thus hindering the marketing process of a product aiming to achieve competitiveness through cooperative actions.

As the huge revenue generated by tourism is undeniable, which translates into foreign exchange and income for all countries and regions that take advantage of the existing potential, it is up to all those who, in one or another, have the potential, to develop this tourism phenomenon in their municipalities through social responsibility, aiming at achieving well-being, supporting the citizens, preserving the environment and culture. Tylor's concept of culture, which is any complex that includes knowledge, beliefs, art, morals, laws, customs or any other capacity or habits acquired by man as a member of a society, is prevailing in the adaptation of the approach of cultural tourism, because when seeking other cultures as a tourist attraction, what motivates poeple is the diversity in art, customs, habits, and beliefs (Laraia, 2009).

Ribeiro (2006), based on Lévi-Strauss, considers cultural diversity a heritage, a source of inexhaustible wealth of humanity. And it is this cultural diversity that the tourist also seeks through gastronomy, which is undoubtedly the portrait of the diverse cultures that have settled there. This gastronomic heritage in this grape and wine region is part of the concept of intangible heritage that UNESCO introduced in 1997, which aims to protect and disseminate "collective works that emanate from a culture and are based on tradition" (Schlüter, 2003).

The guarantee of relationships in associativism is marked by social mechanisms tha imply basic rules of relationship. An essential point in this management process is that the profits generated jointly by the companies be distributed in the most egalitarian way possible, since, with regard to coordination, the ownership of the association belongs to all involved, without any of them owning individually any quota or shares in the organisation. The idea is to make explicit the rights and duties of each member, preserving their individuality and, at the same time, seeking the commitment of those involved. It is necessary to create a balance in the performance of associativism, to avoid any kind of privilege or imbalances among associates (Balestrin and Verschoore, 2008).

The togetherness and trust between the social actors involved are fundamental to the success of the associativism, because if everyone depends on each other, then any distrust will bring about local problems. The local governance, the same that Beni (2006) relates to decision-makers, is preponderant for conducting activities in associativism. The agent’s action, according to Beni (2006, p. 64) “will promote the social mobilization necessary for the sustainability of the social and territorial space”. In this sense, it is possible to verify a network environment organized for technical and scientific contributions of different actors that “will foment and support this process of interaction and integration between the community and public and private entities, promoting participatory territorial management and rescuing the history of many processes” (Beni, 2006, p. 64). Therefore, it is fundamental that this local governance be composed of social actors from all layers of the social fabric.

Although with many difficulties in the sense of a party bond, is remarkable the change in attitudes of the political actors in the process; they are obliged to grant spaces to their opponents for the common good. Tourism should be analyzed in a broad way, since besides the economic and financial repercussions, easily to see, tourism involves political, cultural and environmental aspects, becoming a complex task the evaluation of its effects, mainly due to its multidisciplinary nature.

It is also observed that the result (innovation) from the development of the Grape and Wine Region was to minimize the economic discrepancies taking advantage of latent and inherent opportunities of the rural work. However, agreeing with Cajaiba-Santana (2014), it is understood that the key in the analysis, therefore, is to understand how these actors are organized around the practice within this dynamic of change and consequent transformation of the context.


The Grape and Wine Region assumed its role of regional protagonism anchored in the assumptions of cooperation and competition in the first three decades of the 20th century. The state contribution was evident at the moment of establishing the territorial domain of wine in a complex and extensive process of reterritorialization of a mass of deterritorialized immigrants. Economic conflicts of an individual and collective order made up the scenario experienced in the relations between private capital, farmers and cooperativism. The emergence of the association of cultural and territorial elements under the pretext of tourism allowed the reproduction of the "territory of wine" and its practices since the first half of the 20th century and has expanded its scope in other areas such as the cycles of territorial certifications of production, even though in the current context, viticulture is always among the 4th and 5th economies of these municipalities. Therefore, the demarcation of the grape and wine regions has contributed to the promotion of tourism strategies aimed at generating income for family farmers. Cooperation can be identified as an important route to innovation, namely the creation of other possibilities of insertion into the local economy, since in this environment there is a flow of people, information and materials that enables them to favor, through the sum of efforts, the creation of new products. Although tourism, especially in relation to public policies, is still poorly promoted in rural areas.

Similarly, we identified a symbiosis between the fields of hospitality set out by Lashley (2008), i.e., you can not decontextualise commercial hospitality of cultural and domestic perspectives, because the reality of everyday life takes place in the daily space (Lynch, 2017). If cooperation practices do not take into account the established social reality, hospitality and tourism practices would certainly not have been perpetuated, since regional wine tourism has been significant for at least 70 years.

Thus, associativism alternatives have not been able to cope with the potentially deleterious effects of agribusiness, neither with the large corporations established in the Grape and Wine Region. However, the gains produced by cooperation are significant. This analysis suggests that associativism actions greatly avoid the precariousness of the rural worker, who, based on the gains derived from self-managed enterprises, is able to assure a certain autonomy to his work and generate better living conditions.

Emphasis is put on the absence of effective and continuous tourism projects from public initiatives, since a minority of these workers were able to consolidate their position in the agroindustry. The merit of the development of the Grape and Wine Region, therefore, is in the associativism action. This aspect, on the one hand, translates into an advance of cooperative forms of work, which differ significantly from informal, unsafe and deregulated work often associated with the field activity. On the other hand, the aforementioned absence of public policies to supplement these obsolete processes, without discharacterizing the work of the peasants, is shown as a demand to be considered.

An important point, however, is the latent concern about the future of the cománies, as the new generations suggest to not maintain the same link with rural production and tourism as their predecessors. This fact makes necessary to explore in future projects how the knowledge involved in collective actions is being conveyed, from its technical dimension to the practical understanding of the forms of associativism with its multiple facets and challenges.

In the course of these associativism actions, it should be noted that different competitive dimensions point to this organisational "form" as an effective alternative to local evolution. Especially relevant are the systemic and systematic learning aspects of these relationships and innovations, which can be generated in the specific environment they are embedded in. The role of associativism, as an information diffuser mechanism and facilitator of knowledge socialization, becomes significant in the context of changes, since innovation activities are often the result of intense interaction in joint knowledge of different entities as a promoter and accelerator of local development.


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* Research article developed under the funding of a Research Project “Corporações monopolistas: as implicações do gerencialismo ao trabalho no Brasil contemporâneo-UFRGS".

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How to cite: Salvagni, J., Valduga, V., Nodari, C.H. (2020). Cooperation, innovation and tourism in the grape and wine region, Brazil. Cuadernos de Desarrollo Rural, 17.