The Sanlúcar bodegas who have decided to sell Manzanilla in BIB despite the prohibition of the DO are now questioning the authority of the Consejo to determine which containers are permitted for the sale of wine to restaurants and bars. In a communiqué responding to recent the words of Evaristo Babé, president of Fedejerez, they state “We are absolutely going to try and sell Manzanilla outside the rules of the DO” and because of “pressure” from Fedejerez “they are forgetting that there are also European Community rules which do not regulate packaging for wine sold to the catering trade.”
The Manzanilleros, who are working on the constitution of an association to defend their interests, are casting the credibility of the Consejo into doubt. “Despite the quality of the Manzanilla packaged and sold by this group of bodegas, they deny us the formality of a DO label which casts doubt on the credibility of the institution for not representing the general and legitimate interests of the sector.” They criticised the Consejo for “bending to the will of Fedejerez which was fined not so long ago for restrictive practices to free competition.”
|The Sanlucar rebels' press conference|
The group complains about the “aggressive” stance adopted by Babé which they consider a “fair reflection of the arrogant and disdainful conduct” which Fedejerez has “imposed” on the Consejo. The communiqué continues “we understand the nervousness of Babé as while he must account for his actions to those who think they can run the Consejo as if it were their own, we have the freedom to act in defence of the interests of our town, Sanlúcar, which is proud to produce its own unique wine – Manzanilla.”
The Manzanilleros say they do not need reminding that belonging to the DO is voluntary, but they joined in the conviction that it was the right thing to do. Nevertheless they feel that the Consejo is not fulfilling its commitment as it is subdued by the “impositions of a minority group of industrial wine companies whose sole objective is the concentration of economic power.” According to the rebels these companies, which they blame for the loss of so many bodegas in the last 30 years, care little about Manzanilla and we face these problems as a consequence.
The Sanluqueños’ communiqué ends: “We obey the law. We are humble working people whose only wish is to sell freely our genuine product subject expressly to the organs of quality control and for this we seek the support of the authorities.”
The 20th and 21st of November are the dates for the XX Jornadas del Vino Fino in El Puerto de Santa María. Organised by the cultural association of wine in El Puerto, the first day consists of the nomination of the member of honour, Pilar Plá Pechovierto of bodegas El Maestro Sierra followed by a debate on The International Market for Fino Sherry with Beltrán Domecq and representatives from bodegas Caballero, Estévez, González Byass, Osborne, Fernando de Castilla and Williams & Humbert. The debate, whose moderator is César Saldaña will be followed by a tasting of these bodegas’ wines. The following day there will be a visit and lunch at Williams & Humbert. Day one is free but one needs to register, and there will be a charge for lunch on day two.