Originally published in Diario de Jerez by Felipe Morenes Giles, 4/7/16
The extremely important wine business of Jerez – in which include vineyards, subsidiary industries and the economy they promote –spent years in decline from which it did not recuperate. This ancient business, so important and characteristic for our region, has suffered so many calamities it is inconceivable there could be more, but it appears that like the phoenix, Jerez is rising from the ashes.
What can I say that we Jerezanos don’t know already: important and long-established bodegas sold off to multi-nationals who abandoned them to their fate; the long José María Ruiz Mateos affair with all its ramifications and profound consequences; and as a result of this whirlwind came the loss of associated industries such as Jerez Industrial (label printers) and its subsidiaries, the bottle factory and many others, leaving swathes of unemployment: a real spiral of catastrophes for the Jerezanos who had subsisted for centuries on the wine trade.
But at last there is light in the firmament and it looks as if the sun is coming out again. Domecq and Garvey have been rescued from a certain death by a powerful and optimistic businessman who has invested his capital and his hopes in a project in Jerez, in its wine trade. Hopefully, he will soon have something to show for it and let us pray for his success, that the seed grows and bears fruit.
And now to the Consejo Regulador elections, which are worth examining, but perhaps more from a sociological, human and spiritual standpoint than financial. Let me explain.
In the Consejo president we have a gentleman (in every sense of the word) who is blessed with genes from the most important wine families of the area: Domecq, Williams and González, not to mention the illustrious surname Mora-Figuera to which belongs – among other titles – that of Marqués de Tamarón, a line of important men in humanism, arts and science.
The president, Don Beltrán Domecq, is the genuine product of the time-honoured culture and expertise built up over generations with much effort, resources, education, and adaptation. It would be impossible to find anyone better suited to represent Sherry.
But my elation doesn’t end there. Right by his side is somebody new, driven by work, hope and the desire to succeed. That man is Salvador Espinosa Rodríguez. Step by step this family, with much hard work and aspiration, is achieving success in the world of bodegas. They have made some excellent acquisitions with determination and common sense, taking their time but with clear goals: vineyards, vinification plant and now bodegas with well-established brands which will undoubtedly further develop the business.
And there is more. We can’t ignore Grupo Estévez, built with boldness, vision and colossal effort by José Estévez de los Reyes, and which goes to show what can be achieved with hard work and good sense. Their vineyards and brands are impressive.
Last, but by no means least, another reason for hope, is a much younger man, Don Ignacio Osborne Cologan, who will take over as president of Osborne in 2017 when Tomás Osborne retires.
I have titled this article “reasons for hope” because I see real reasons for a resurgence of Sherry. I see human resources full of hope and a desire to succeed. Let us remember the parable of the talents and have confidence that things will be like that and thus good for society in general. There is no ill which lasts beyond 100 years. Jerez has survived 100 years of pain and now it is time that the light of prosperity shines brightly on our horizon.
06 July 2016