Between 1950 and 1967, Cariñena District saw the setting up in various municipal areas of the following co-operatives: Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Villanueva de Huerva, San Roque de Alfamén, San José de Aguarón, and San Bernabé de Cosuenda, in addition to the Sociedad Agraria de Transformación de Cariñena (Cariñena Agro-Transformation Company).
Maintaining the philosophy of combining individual efforts to create more powerful business structures, in 1997, GRANDES VINOS Y VIÑEDOS, S.A., was founded with an innovative business model in the winemaking sector. Its equity capital was drawn from the five cooperatives, the Government of Aragon through the Aragonese Promotion Institute (Instituto Aragonés de Fomento), and the two principle banks in Aragon: Grupo Ibercaja and Bantierra. This new company involved wide-ranging restructuring of the business, most importantly the creation of a new Board of Directors.
Its mission is to make vine cultivation in Cariñena sustainable and profitable, bringing together a third of the total production of the Denomination of Origin and setting as growth strategy its development in Export Markets and the Client as the main priority upon which focus is to be maintained, adapting to changes and anticipating them in order to set the lead.
Since the very beginning, GRANDES VINOS has set its strategic foundations on quality, innovation, and commitment to the surroundings and the environment. It has invested in modernity, in new work systems and better control of all processes; from the vine to the bottle; creating singular wines of great character that are unique to the area.
At the heart of the interest groups are the over 700 families of winegrowers that belong to the Co-operatives and who work in the vineyards every day as their way of life, and who have accumulated several generations' worth of experience and knowledge unique in the world.
Since the foundation of the company, alongside the quality of the vineyards, the greatest level of attention has been paid to human capital, the company\'s greatest and most valuable asset. GRANDES VINOS has a team of 65 highly qualified people showing the highest level of professionalism in their respective areas. That team is subject to a continuous process of improvement and training at all levels of the organization.
Yet to celebrate it\'s twentieth anniversary, GRANDES VINOS has already consolidated its position as one of the leading exponents of the renewed Cariñena Protected Denomination of Origin and as the largest winery in the Autonomous Community of Aragon and one of the thirty largest wineries in Spain.
Its vision places it as a benchmark winery of the national and international winemaking industry due to its growth and profitability. It is recognised for its innovation, quality, competitiveness, and service; with its commercial brands constantly growing in national and export markets.
Creativity and innovation are amongst the most important values for GRANDES VINOS and its Innovation Management System is governed by a committee.
Innovation is focused on two main areas:
Alternatives to chemical control of the vineyards, using sexual confusion for grape moths", with the aim of eliminating the use of insecticides and their consequent contamination to the environment - and, in parallel, to obtain healthy vineyards without pests or diseases.
Developing a non-invasive ultrasound system for field studies of the water status of the vines for optimized irrigation, which aims at checking the water stress of the vines so that irrigation is only used when necessary, thus improving the quality of the wine and reducing water consumption.
Cloning a selection of Cariñena vines from generation to generation; improving quality and resistance to diseases. This involves the selection of Cariñena varietal clones adapted to the growing conditions of the Cariñena Protected Denomination of Origin, allowing the production of high œnological quality wines that are less susceptible to mildew. The main aim being to reappraise the varietal. It is a clear indication of the winery\'s support for indigenous varietals, in particular Cariñena, which it has used for a number of years to produce single- varietal wines of high quality. The project will be conducted jointly with the Nursery Vitis Navarra and Science Institute of Vine and Wine (CSIC , University of La Rioja, Government of La Rioja). During three years, it will be financed by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness through the Program Retos de Colaboración (Collaboration Challenges).
GRANDES VINOS makes and sells its wines using an INTEGRATED MANAGEMENT SYSTEM that covers Quality, Environment, and Food Safety.
The winery has the following certifications: ISO 9001 (quality), ISO 14001 (environment), International Food Standard (IFS), the British Retail Consortium (BRC), and DLG Test Service.
In addition to its certification, GRANDES VINOS is dedicated to reaching the highest level of environmental protection: environmental intelligence applied to precision agriculture, optimising vineyard irrigation, end-to-end residue processing and using a solar farm in the winery to reduce the energy consumed in the production process and CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. GRANDES VINOS is a leader in environmental technologies in the winemaking sector.
The winery\'s latest projects continue along the lines of reducing its environmental impact, in vineyards using sexual-confusion techniques in the control of the grape moth, and in collaboration with its suppliers to use lighter bottles, boxes made from 100% recycled cardboard, and eco-friendly inks.
The winery is currently in the process of determining their corporate carbon footprint, using the firm INNOTEC and applying the GHG protocol and using pellets obtained from stems produced during the harvest to obtain energy.
GRANDES VINOS has an active programme of Corporate Social Responsibility. One of their many contributions is with the Down Syndrome Foundation in Zaragoza, with which the winery has a collaboration agreement to support the Foundation\'s tailored Vocational Training programmes to use employment trainers in helping companies to adapt work posts to the needs of people with mental disabilities.
In 2007, in parallel with that agreement, a joint project called "Vino Solidario" (Solidary Wine) was designed so that all the profits from sales of a particular wine are intended for various programmes run by the Foundation. To date, 96,845 bottles have been distributed and €116,703.17 donated by GRANDES VINOS.
The Down Syndrome Foundation of Zaragoza, at its 2nd business gala gave the winery the award for its personal and professional endeavours for the rights of people with mental disabilities. The award motivated the winery to continue working on a daily basis to boost its policy on social responsibility.
GRANDES VINOS is also aware of the needs of its surroundings in the social and cultural realms and takes part actively in a range of sponsorships and collaborations, especially in the world of cinema, where it is the official winery to the Autonomous Community of Aragon\'s five leading film festivals: Zaragoza, Fuentes de Ebro, La Almunia, Calanda, and Uncastillo.
In the academic world, the winery has formed a collaboration agreement with the Saint George University in Zaragoza for the "pooled implementation of projects aimed at students, training, consultancy, and research work, or any other activity that may be considered", as well as setting up close links with the consumers of the future, with whom it is intended to use the university environment to share the culture of wine.