With the start of the feria season and the traditional huge increase in consumption, Fedejerez, the federation of bodegas, is warning against the use of Bag in Box (BIB) packaging for Sherry. They have set up a campaign to warn consumers that Sherry can only legally be sold in glass bottles, and that in no circumstances can any other form of packaging carry the Denominación de Origen (DO).
Fedejerez is pointing out the misleading nature of BIB and the grave economic consequences for the image of the genuine products of Jerez and Sanlúcar. In the rules of the Consejo, section H.4, it is made quite clear that Sherry shall be sold for direct consumption in glass or any other material the Consejo might authorise. Only glass has been authorised.
Although those who sell BIB have declassified the wine (ie they are not claiming DO), confusion is caused among consumers as the BIBs carry words and pictures which have been used historically in the commercialisation of Sherry. Consumers assume they are buying a genuine DO product when in reality it is a declassified Sherry or a wine from somewhere else such as Montilla or Huelva, where there are no controls on BIB. Fedejerez considers this as little short of fraud and unfair competition, as BIBs do not undergo the rigorous checks that Sherry must and are taking advantage of its worldwide prestige, earned over many years of investment.
The low price of BIBs is also a cause of concern: young wine is sold in cheap packaging which makes the bottled DO product look expensive. If consumers then opt for the cheaper version, sales of proper Sherry will fall leaving less money to invest in research, vineyards, promotion or wages for example, and ultimately, jobs. Smaller resources would make it more difficult to promote to younger people, de-seasonalise consumption and recuperate Sherry’s prestige.
At the end of the day, use of BIBs will not impress markets such as Japan or the USA which want top quality wines, in bottle and well promoted, something which can only be achieved by promoting bottled brands which give Sherry its prestigious image.