Friday, 24 July 2015

24.7.15 Grape Prices; Culture in El Puerto; Racing & Flamenco in Sanlúcar

Sherry grapes are the cheapest in Spain
A very interesting article in today’s Diario de Jerez by Á Espejo

The wine business in Jerez is going back to its old ways. The first soundings between growers and bodegas to establish supply and price agreements for the forthcoming harvest show a decrease in price for the Palomino, by far the most cultivated grape. After the truce in recent harvests which ended with rising grape prices, the first DO in Spain, now 80 years old, appears condemned to be at the bottom of price tables and earn the title of the cheapest grapes in Spain.

The bodegas are holding surplus stocks to avoid shortages over future years and the increase in value of Sherry in recent times has not compensated for falling sales, a trend for many years now which shows no signs of changing in the short term. The demand for grapes therefore is low and is concentrated in a few bodegas who are pressurising growers to reduce prices which are already barely profitable and moreover insisting on quality in the fight to recover Sherry’s lost prestige.

Sherry harvest (foto:Vanesa Lobo/diariodejerez)

The big bodegas own sufficient vineyard to cover their requirements with Estévez doubling their holdings over recent years and González Byass reactivating planting rights with a view to the restructuring of some of their vineyards which, after some years of rest are in production again. Furthermore, many small and medium sized bodegas have been left in a very difficult position as a result of both the economic crisis and the sales crisis to the point where in order to survive they have been selling finished wine to bodegas in a better position and thus occupying the place of defunct almacenistas.

In this context the growers have very few choices except Barbadillo, the biggest buyer of grapes – although a lot goes for the production of the table wine Castillo San Diego – who have let it be known that they will pay one céntimo less per kilo this year which equates to a price drop of 2.7%. Last year the growers suffered a drop in price of 7.7% making the price over 10% less than 3 years ago.

Worse still, the growers have to face paying the levy on grape production reintroduced this year by the Consejo after the increase in the levy on bodegas for Sherry sold. By this means the Consejo was able to increase its budget by 50% for generic promotion. The levy producers have to pay was re-introduced after the recuperation of prices in previous years: from €0.24 in 2011/12 to €0.39 in 2013/14. Nevertheless the situation began to change last year with the first drop in prices and this is threatening to repeat itself.

Fernando Cordoba, Manuel Lozano and Angel Leon at the bodega

The Castillo de San Marcos in El Puerto was the scene of the announcement of this year’s Ciclo Cultural, an up-market gastronomic event organised by Luis Caballero. There will be three events, on the 6th, the 13th and the 20th of August. The first two will be led by Manuel Lozano, chief oenologist at Lustau and recent winner for the 7th time of the best fortified winemaker award at the International Wine Challenge. The third will be led by two of Andalucía’s most outstanding chefs: Fernando Córdoba of Restaurante El Faro who specialises in food from the land, and Ángel León of Restaurante Aponiente who specialises in food from the sea. Both restaurants are in El Puerto. There will be plenty of Sherry expertly matched with outstanding food. Places are limited and tickets can be bought at

This year’s horse racing on the Piletas beach at Sanlúcar will take place on the following dates: 12, 13 and 14 August then 26,27 and 28 August. A total of 85 horses are registered in this, the 170th year of these historic and wonderful races.

Horses on Piletas beach (foto:VictorLopez/lavozdigital)

This year’s Noches de Bajo de Guia flamenco festival will take place in the gardens of the Palacio Municipal on the evenings of the 21 and 22 August. Pride of place will be given to local artists and this year it will not be a competition as before. The Palace was built by the Duc de Monpensier whose descendants established the bodega Infantes de Orleans Borbón and now belongs to the city council.

A new festival is being prepared for Sanlúcar. The I Feria del Langostino will celebrate the local seafood and in particular the famous local langostino. A date has yet to be fixed.

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