Why wine producers plan to leave Catalonia

EPA-EFE/SUSANNA SAEZ

A general view of Freixenet building, cava sparkling wine producer, in Sant Sadurni Anoia, Barcelona, Spain, 06 October 2017.

Why wine producers plan to leave Catalonia


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As political tension mounts over Catalonia’s independence vote, the holding company of Cava producer Codorníu has announced plans to leave. The company has decided to move offices out of Catalonia.

In a statement released on October 16, Codorníu holding company Unideco said its board of directors agreed to move the Cava maker’s registered office address to Haro in Riojas.

The Spanish newspaper El País, quoting the company’s statement, reported the decision was due to ongoing “political and legal uncertainty” in Catalonia following the region’s controversial independence referendum.

According to a report published by Decanter online, however, it was not certain that Codorníu would go ahead with the move. It also clarified that it was not changing anything about its operational structure in Catalonia.

Rival Cava producer Freixenet has also suggested that it could move its headquarters if Catalonia’s government declares independence from Spain.

Wineries, like other businesses, have been caught up in the uncertainty that has accompanied the present stand-off between Madrid and Catalonia, reported Decanter.

There are 10,000 wine grape growers in Catalonia and 853 wine companies, with combined annual sales of €1.6bn, according to the region’s government.

Currently, Catalonia makes up around 8% of Spain’s wine exports by volume, with half of this comprised of Cava.

Catalan producers generate about 22% of Spanish wine export revenues, which monetarily puts it on par with Castilla la Mancha.

A loss of this income, which totalled some €648m in 2015, would potentially be a serious blow to Spain.

Decanter also reported potential problems for an independent Catalonia. For instance, Spain could claim rights to the Cava name, because it is defined by “process” rather than region – even though 95% of Cava wines are made in Penedes, according to the Court of Master Sommeliers.

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