Many independent vine growers are making losses on their grape production and may be forced to switch to other crops. This is mainly down to the low price the grapes fetch. The best price fetched for this last harvest was 59 pesetas/kilo (they still talk in pesetas here) which is equivalent to 0.35 euros. In Champagne grapes cost over 5 euros/kilo. Such low prices are unsustainable, and this harvest saw no increase despite being very small. What is more, the growers have to pay a levy of 0.05 euros/kilo to support the Consejo Regulador. As Sherry moves into a mode of smaller quantities and higher value, the bodegas are making more profits from fewer grapes.
The leader of the growers’ union Asevi-Asaja, Francisco Guerrero, says that many are looking at growing wheat or beetroot instead as they are more profitable. EU funds to the tune of 4.2 million euros through the ITI scheme to promote wine tourism will pass the independent growers by as they have no funds to invest in related projects. They have neither the funds nor the will even to invest in the vineyards to modernise machinery and cultivation methods. Together they account for 27% of the vineyard, the cooperatives 49% and the bodegas 24%.