Chile Chile
placeValle de Elquí, Chile


  • behind the facade of this Chilean brand is a steadfast cooperative
  • CAPEL continually invests in the well-being of its members and employees
  • Oxfam buys sparkling wine from CAPEL
Chile Chile

World-renowned fair-trade

CAPEL is one of the few cooperatives in rural South America. In fact, the name CAPEL stands for Cooperativa Agrícola Pisquera Elqui Limitada.

CAPEL was created out of necessity during the economic crisis of the 1930s (info in Dutch). To this day, the organisation has steadfast leaders and loyal wine-growers to thank for its continued existence. People driven by their ideals surrounding collaboration. Determined not to bend to the might of corporate giants who seek to buy out their prestigious brand.

In addition to being a farmers’ organisation, CAPEL is a dynamic and modern company. Thanks to its solid infrastructure, it is able to process its members’ grapes to create quality products. Products like concentrated grape juice, pisco, sparkling wine, sweet and red wine.

Wines, not mines

For the young people of the Vicuña region of Northern Chile, the environmentally-unfriendly but lucrative mining industry (info in Dutch) is a strong draw. CAPEL offers them a model for making a living from winegrowing instead.

The cooperative provides permanent employment to 337 staff members, including 54 women. During the grape harvest they employ an additional 300 people to pick the grapes. They all come from the locality, too.

Being a member of this cooperative is a lifestyle in itself. The solidarity among colleagues is more important to me than the financial benefits of being a member.

Javier Marcos, CAPEL

Solidarity through fair-trade wine

The cooperative achieves good results. And it invests continually in the well-being of its members and employees.

  • The winegrowers can consult a team of specialist agricultural technicians and they can always rely on the cooperative for their bookkeeping. They can also go to CAPEL to buy agricultural equipment at discounted prices or on credit.
  • CAPEL provides stipends for the education of their children and grandchildren.
  • The fair trade premium (info in Duthc) paid by clients like Oxfam all goes straight into the cooperative’s social fund. This fund goes towards member health insurance and a fund for funerals and death benefit.
  • The cooperative has made agreements with pharmacies, dentists and clinics to ensure its members a discounted rate.
  • The subsidiary organisation Chilecoop lends credit to CAPEL’s members and employees.

All in all, CAPEL has an enormous impact on the everyday lives of its members and on the development of the entire region.

CAPEL & Oxfam

  • The collaboration between Oxfam and CAPEL began in 2011 when we started buying their Pisco, a later addition to the shelves of your Oxfam-Wereldwinkel: the elegant SENSUS sparkling wines.
  • CAPEL is investing in more efficient watering. Previously, growers worked solely with river irrigation. In this, rivers are drained and flow through the fields, watering everything. Recently, more and more members are shifting towards drip irrigation that only waters the vines. Solar panels and a pump control the irrigation system.