Wednesday, 30 September 2015

30.9.15 Consejo Meeting on BIB; "Red Duchess" Archive

In a bitter debate yesterday at the Consejo Regulador, approval for the use of the bag in box (BIB) was again refused. Much of the three hours of the meeting was taken up with this highly controversial matter and another, proposed by Fedejerez, to restrict sales of bulk Sherry except in exceptional circumstances. The latter will be discussed at greater length at another meeting, but one wonders how this might affect tabancos. In a strongly worded statement Evaristo Babé, Fedejerez president stated that BIB is “manifestly illegal” and lamented the lack of “immediate measures” from public administrations against this “fraud which is going on every day.”

Some of the Archive of Medina Sidonia
Nicknamed the “Red Duchess” for her anti-Franco activities, the Duquesa de Medina Sidonia, who died recently, was a member of a very old and noble family in Sanlúcar. A previous duke led the Spanish Armada in 1588, and the family has built up a huge archive of great historical importance, consisting of over six million documents, some from the XIII century. It is one of the two most important in Europe. To conserve it the duchess established the Fundación Casa Medina Sidonia, to which she donated the archive which was declared a Bien de Interés Cultural, based in the Palacio de los Guzmanes in Sanlúcar.

The duchess died in 2008 and did not include the archive in her legacy as she had already given it away, but her heirs think differently and are disputing the will in court, and that could mean breaking up the archive which is priceless but has a notional value of €60 million. A large platform of citizens, writers, historians, the Junta de Andalucía, the Diputación de Cádiz and Sanlúcar Town Council has been established to try and ensure this doesn’t happen. The case begins today.

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