Saturday, 22 July 2017

22.7.17 Fedejerez Celebrates 40th Anniversary

After nearly 40 years of the Franco regime’s state controlled single trade union, known as the Sindicato Vertical and to which both workers and bosses were obliged to belong, the new democratic government repealed it. This allowed the constitution in 1977 of Fedejerez, the association of bodegas. Many members of the trade attended the association’s 40th anniversary event at the Consejo’s Bodega San Ginés yesterday.

The last 40 years have seen massive change in the Sherry trade, and in his address to members, Fedejerez president, Evaristo Babé, said the next ten years will bring further dramatic change and this needs a “change of mentality” as well as unity and loyalty towards each other as well as to Fedejerez. He said “it is a critical moment and there is not enough coherence between what is said and what is done”, alluding to the inconsistency of price of certain Sherries.

After praising the work of his predecessors, he mentioned five decisive factors in the evolution of the trade over the last four decades. The changes in ownership of many bodegas, unthinkable forty years ago, such as Domecq, Garvey, Croft, Sandeman, Palomino & Vergara, Bobadilla… some now lost, but some” fortunately” absorbed by other bodegas.

Anniversary toast in the Consejo Patio, Evaristo Babe in front (foto:pascual/diariodejerez)

Spain’s joining of the European Union in 1986 had positive aspects, but also a negative ones like the disappearance of tax relief on exports and the “radical” tax increases which went with it. Thirdly he brought up the dreadful consequences of many bodegas’ obsession with quantity and the internal disputes to obtain maximum market share over competitors. Fourthly he pointed out the enormous difficulty of modernising labour relations, and lastly the “enormous collateral damage” inflicted on the trade by the rise and fall of Rumasa.

Looking to the future, Babé said that “the Sherry trade is enormously privileged for the excellent and unique quality of its wine, for the value of the brand, for its patrimony - both material and immaterial - and for its degree of internationalisation, something many others dream of”.

“Bodegas which have relied too heavily on trade and public institutions to solve their problems have the responsibility to make changes at this crucial moment to adapt as fast as possible, for the next ten years will pass very quickly. Unity and loyalty among bodegas and towards Fedejerez are essential”.

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