Sunday, 31 May 2015

Williams & Humbert Conference Cycle

Initiated in 2014, the Ciclo de Conferencias is an occasional series of conferences organised by the bodega in celebration of last year’s European City of Wine. Each features an invited guest with expert knowledge to discuss some aspect of the Sherry industry, building over time, a real picture of the world of Sherry from various perspectives. The lecture concludes with questions and answers and, naturally, a glass of Sherry. Events are held at the bodega, anyone can attend and there is no charge. If you are interested in Sherry in the real world, I would strongly recommend them.

Palma Flethes 2nd left, Jesus Medina of W&H 3rd left, Miguel Angel Moreno 5th left
5th June 2014 saw “La promoción del Jerez en el 2.0 y Nuevas Tendencias de Consumo Entre los Jóvenes” imparted by Palma Flethes and Miguel Ángel Moreno of Sherry and Tweets, a very worthwhile online blog and tasting group promoting Sherry. This was about how Sherry can be made to appeal to the young using social media.

25th September 2014: “Jerez y EL Jerez” by Luís García Ruiz, a profesor of Constitutional Law among many other titles and qualifications he holds, as well as being president of the Consejo Regulador from 1997-2004. Sr. García spoke about the mutual inspiration between Sherry and the city which makes it.

Jesus Medina 2nd from right and Marta Soler, far right
28th May 2015 Marta Soler Montiel: “La Incorporación del Vino de Jerez a la Globalización”. Dr Soler is a professor in Applied Economics at the school of Agronomic Engineering at the University of Sevilla. She won the top prize for her doctorate on this very subject. Here are some brief notes on it:

She focussed on the period from 1980, when Sherry began to experience a sustained drop in sales, above all in export markets, provoking the crisis and the re-structuring of the Sherry business in the new context of globalization. From that point on, new requirements from the global economy have been driving local changes in production, economic and socio-cultural spheres. This is particularly difficult for Jerez, and it is a question of adapt or die. Mechanisation is on the rise and many small family businesses have been swallowed up by bigger international concerns.

These changes have seen huge reductions in Jerez of lagares (vineyard press houses) - 86%;  production bodegas - 80%; ageing and storage bodegas - 72% and ageing and shipping bodegas - 48%, with the consequent reduction in vineyard and employment. Many producers have diversified into other drinks, or other lines of business altogether. Despite all this, Dr Soler feels that the future lies in the hands of small dynamic producers whose wines are linked to the land and are seen as exceptional Andaluz wines. Globalization affects the bigger more international companies while the small producers will uphold Sherry’s reputation.

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