The cooperatives are a different type of built heritage and differ from the Champagne Houses. While function always determines the type of construction, with buildings frequently large-scale, the architecture is industrial, deploying iron and concrete. The growth of the cooperative movement was reflected in extensions enabling cooperatives to adapt to increased production volumes and more efficient equipment. The General Cooperative of Winegrowers (COGEVI) was founded in 1921 and is now the oldest operating Champagne cooperative, as well as being an archetypal example of the development of cooperatives.
Located in Aÿ, COGEVI's production facility has since 1929 been sited on the corner of Rue Jeanson and Boulevard du Nord. Initially comprising a mansion house, storerooms, cellars, land and a vineyard, it was supplemented over time by the purchase, construction and refurbishment of various buildings… acquisition in 1951 of the Bissinger complex on Rue Jeanson, comprising the villa of the same name, two fermenting rooms and a network of cellars and vines; construction in 1986-7 of storage and ageing facilities, and installation of an automated packaging line; and the full renovation in 1997 of the Bissinger central fermenting room, featuring thermo-regulated stainless steel vats.
Almost a century later, following numerous demolition and rebuilding projects mainly during the second half of the 20th century, only two of the original buildings are still standing: the mansion house at the corner of Rue Jeanson, and the former main building. However, the current sprawling complex, located between Boulevards Pasteur and Du Nord, and Rues de la Fontaine and Jeanson, is testament to the many changes brought about by the continual modernisation of the cooperative's production facility.
Coopérative Générale des Vignerons – 14 boulevard Pasteur – 51160 Aÿ
Tel.: +33 3 26 55 15 88
Guided tour of the Cité du Champagne (Cooperative House, fermenting room, cellars, and Museum of Champagne Trades) https://www.citeduchampagnecolletcogevi.com/