Wednesday, 22 June 2016

22.6.16 Mildew Update; Award for Sherry Cellar-masters

The vineyards closer to Jerez, which make up the majority, appear to have the situation under control. However, as vineyards get closer to the coast where humidity is higher, things get worse. The fungus has been observed in Añina, Las Tablas and Balbaína, but the damage is not extensive, however the area from Trebujena along the coast via Sanlúcar to Chipiona has suffered at least 50% losses and in some cases more. This is the worst mildew outbreak for years.

The heavy rainfall in May which came so late that it wasn’t really expected, led some growers to use less preventive treatment. Then the rain arrived at a critical time for the vine – flowering – and worse still, because of high temperatures, the humidity was such that the mildew spread virulently. It has thus affected not just the leaves and berries, but the plant stems as well in some cases, which augurs badly for next year’s harvest, and work is underway to minimise this. The Junta is encouraging those growers who do not have insurance to get it.

It has not been all bad. Last year was a very dry one, and the heavy rain has at least topped up underground water reserves. This could lead to higher yields which could mitigate – at least to some extent – the losses to mildew, but for the moment the result of the 2016 harvest is anyone’s guess.

On Monday in Madrid Spain’s foremost gastronomic website ( held its first award ceremony, I Premios Gastroactitud Compromiso con la Tierra, to reward the usually unknown or little-known people who work hard to produce the best food and drink. A long list of producers who work closely with the land won awards, but there was a special award for the capataces of Jerez in recognition of them all, past and present, and their amazing skills.

Pepe receives the award from chef Andoni Luis Aduriz of Restaurante Mugaritz

Pepe Blandino of Bodegas Tradición accepted the award on their behalf. He has spent 53 years in the Sherry bodegas, most of them at Domecq. His father was an arrumbador, his grandfather a cooper and his son is a capataz. Pepe is living proof of the tradition of passing on skills down through the family. He said “It is a great honour to receive this recognition of the work we do in the bodegas. Personally, I am very proud to receive it on behalf of my colleagues.”

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