The real estate magnate and founder of Bodegas Tradición, Joaquín Rivero has died aged 72 in hospital in Jerez. Jerezano by birth and entrepreneur by nature, he started his career in the family business but soon founded his own, making construction materials. In the early 1980s he moved into real estate on an international scale and soon became a multi-millionaire. This wealth allowed him to indulge his two passions of Sherry and art.
Rivero was a descendant of the famous old bodega family JM Rivero, and in the 1990s he bought an old bodega in the Plaza Cordobeses and had it renovated. He bought old soleras and some Añadas and established a Fino solera, quickly earning a reputation for quality. He also built the most impressive collection of Spanish art in Andalucía, amounting to some 300 works from between the XV and XIX centuries, and a selection of this is on display at the bodega. He was recently selected for the Premio Ciudad de Jerez 2016 in recognition of his achievements.
2016 is the second smallest harvest in the last decade with a fraction over 57 million kilos, 26% down on last year. Only 2012 was smaller with only 47 million kilos thanks to extensive drought. Yields this year have varied widely in the different areas with Jerez producing a little over 40 million kilos (70% of the total crop, but 19% down on last year), while Sanlúcar was 40% down and Trebujena nearly 50% down. Chipiona was down 34%, El Puerto nearly 50%, Rota 30%.
It all goes to show that while we have improved husbandry and winemaking dramatically, we are still at the mercy of the weather. An estimated 7% of the losses are attributable to the mildew outbreak which resulted from heavy rain (200 litres/square metre in some places!), especially in coastal vineyards. The main cause however, has been the almost endless Levante wind which takes moisture from the grapes. The poor growers who sell grapes to the bodegas are paid by weight, and have suffered financial losses. Also, Sherry grapes are ridiculously cheap at about 0.35 €/kilo. At least the quality is good.