After being refused authorisation for BIB at the last plenary of the Consejo Regulador, the Asociación de Vinateros de Sanlúcar which embraces a dozen small bodegas and which in this matter counts on the support of some Fedejerez members: Hidalgo La Gitana, La Cigarrera, Jose Luís Barrera (Sanchez Ayala) and Juan Piñero, is seeking the support of the Junta and other official bodies.
Some think they should go to the Competition authority which not so long ago imposed heavy fines on many bodegas and the Consejo for what it saw as discriminatory sales quotas, a Buyer’s Own Brand cartel and grape price fixing, but which was compelled to reduce them considerably. Most however believe that the way forward is debate and conciliation rather than more drastic measures which could have serious repercussions for Sherry as a whole.
Despite the consistent refusal of Fedejerez and the Consejo to allow what they see as fraudulent and illegal, the Manzanilleros say that it satisfies a growing demand especially from the catering sector which views it as convenient and more hygienic than re-fillable garrafas, which themselves are a target of Fedejerez. José Carlos Garrido, spokesman for the Manzanilleros, says that authorising the use of BIB does not imply the end of the bottle, but rather taking advantage of a niche in the market which could increase sales. It is not about a war between Sanlúcar and Jerez, it is about sitting down and talking with an open mind about opportunities.
The V Edition of the Most Festival, an international festival of films about wine, many not commercially released, runs 5-15 November. It takes place in the Penedés, a reference point for wine production in Cataluña, but Jerez will be strongly featured in the wonderful film El Misterio del Palo Cortado which will be accompanied by two Jerezanos: José Luís Jiménez, academic and president of the Cine Club de Jerez and Antonio Flores, chief oenologist at González Byass. If you are in the area, don’t miss this really interesting festival, and you can explore the Penedés vineyards and bodegas as well!