Sunday, 29 November 2015

29.11.15 BIB: History is Repeating Itself

The High Court of Andalucía supported the Consejo’s case in April 2006 when it rejected an appeal by a Sanlúcar bodega against a fine imposed by the Consejo, with the approval of the Junta’s agriculture department, for selling Manzanilla in BIB. Armed with this legal precedent, the Consejo and Fedejerez are wondering how it is that the Junta, which supported the fine at the time, does not nip the current BIB affair in the bud.

Back in 2000 Gáspar Florido, later taken over by Pedro Romero, released a Manzanilla in BIB which was the first one ever. This rang alarm bells at the Consejo who acted without delay in initiatiating proceedings, opening Pandora’s Box in the process. The result was a fine of €28,086.50 plus €1,083.50 being the value of the just over 100 BIBs. After an inspection of the premises the Consejo confiscated another 1,560 BIBs which were ready to be sold so that they could be disqualified according to the court ruling.

Tabancos must use garrafas (foto:Jose Contreras, diariodejerez)

This High Court ruling shows that the prosecution was the result of four inspections carried out by the Consejo which found a quantity of wine in five litre BIBs labelled “Manzanilla en Rama.” The BIBs had stuck to them two strips with the Consejo Seal, one a guarantee of origin and the other stating the capacity of four litres, the latter being exclusively issued for glass containers. It seems that there were one litre strips added to balance up the stocks. The bodega’s appeal was dismissed.

The High Court’s case was that the rules of the Consejo Regulador are “special rules” which prevail over more general rules. The sentence stated: “Although national and EU regulations permit the use of BIB, the DO Sherry rules state that wine can only be sold by member bodegas in containers which do not prejudice its quality or prestige and are are approved by the Consejo Regulador.  Furthermore, the court pointed out that the bodega in question, which had a seat at the Consejo, knew that BIBs had been prohibited by a majority at a plenary meeting after another bodega had brought up the matter.  And at a plenary on 20 July 2000 BIBs were banned unanimously. Florido “knew this perfectly well .”

Last September the Consejo again rejected by majority a proposal by a Manzanilla representative to authorise BIBs. Despite this rejection, the Manzanilleros – with the exceptions of La Guita, Barbadillo and Delgado Zuleta – announced their decision to market Manzanilla in the forbidden container, claiming to have the support of the agriculture department of the Junta. The latter, which has the power to pronounce on matters such as this, has signally failed to do so. The Consejo therefore issued a statement denouncing the fact that the Manzanilleros seem to be behaving with impunity because of the lack of action to resolve the matter by the Junta.

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