Friday, 28 December 2018

28.12.18 Just When You Thought You´d Heard The Last of BIB

As things stand, the recent prohibition of the Bag in Box by the Superior Court of Justice of Andalucía only affects Sherry and Manzanilla, but not wines from the Production Zone. For example Fino from Chiclana has long been widely sold – legally - in BIB, mainly to local tabancos, but to the extent that the Unión de Viticultores Chiclaneros once threatened to leave the DO if it were banned.

With the echoes of the BIB court case still ringing, and its supporters, like the Association of Artisan Bodegas of Sanlúcar left with one last legal resort (or forlorn hope) of winning their case in the Supreme Court, the cooperative Virgen de los Palomares in Trebujena, which is in the Production Zone, is preparing to launch a Fino in BIB under the name of a well-known Manzanilla brand sold only in bulk with the name assigned to the coop by its owner, a member of the Artisan Bodegas Association.

The brand is the popular “Manzanilla La E” from Bodegas Herederos de Argüeso owned by Francisco Yuste and the wine will be the coop´s own Fino, not the Manzanilla which is a separate DO, sold as “Fino La E” for which DO guarantee seals have already been applied for at the Consejo Regulador.

This move marks a contrast to the aspirations of the coops of the area of merging the Production Zone with the Ageing Zone, one of the matters currently under review by the commission set up by the Consejo with a view to reforming the regulations covering the wines of the DO. The Consejo finds the move “hardly serious and incomprehensible” since when the two zones are merged, as is likely this coming year, the BIB will be prohibited, so there seems little point in it.

On the other hand, the president of Los Palomares, Juan Manuel Sánchez, sustains that the changes to the regulations will take ages – it had been hoped they could have come into force this year, but they didn´t - and it is not clear what the terms of the final agreement of the new regulations will be. “In any case we can always reverse the decision” he says.

In fact he says that the coop had been leaving the BIB to one side to fight for the merging of the zones and had even postponed an application for EU funds to increase production, though they will apply at the next round once the regulations have been resolved and they know if they need a new normal bottling line or one which fills BIBs.

“Things are taking ages and let us hope they can be sorted at the next Consejo plenary in January, but we are not holding our breath, but the coop has to look for profitability” he says. And this is why they accepted Yuste´s offer of the brand name so they could change it to Fino and sell it in BIB. Palomares, the largest of the two coops in Trebujena has only previously used the BIB format for mosto but according to Dcoop, to which Palomares belongs, there is growing demand for wines in this format in countries where BIB is popular.

Sánchez believes that the current regulations have given rise to incongruencies which are the result of the duality of the Production and Ageing Zones and the existence of wines of two categories: Sherry and Manzanilla which can only be aged in the Ageing Zone for the DO and the other wines from the Production Zone, places like Trebujena, Chipiona, Chiclana, Rota… which can use terminology like Oloroso, Fino etc which must be accompanied by the name of the place of production. He feels that the regulations need to be more realistic and logical so as not to give rise to such situations.

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