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Valdeorras wine council chairman resigns over grower dispute

A dispute over production in Valdeorras, Galicia’s golden valley in North West Spain, has led to the resignation of the chairman of the wine region’s DO regulatory council.

Image credit: TurGalicia.es

The conflict between cooperatives and producers has escalated after Jose Luis Garcia Pando, the now former chairman of Valedorras DO council, accused 178 growers of exceeding the maximum grape harvest yields.

Galicia’s government, la Xunta, was immersed in industry talks this week in a bid to resolve the dispute.

‘Cooperatives and growers have been trying to increase the amount of kilos of grapes per hectare, but they have to comply with the DO rules,’ said a producer who wished not to be named and who voted in favour of a motion by Garcia Pando to open proceedings against growers accused of breaching production limits.

Some producers have even claimed that cooperatives used grapes from outside the DO region.

Garcia Pando resigned on 10 February after his council motion failed when unions and cooperatives voted against him.

‘We have lost all confidence in the chairman, this was not the place to launch proceedings against growers – it has to go through the correct administrative and judicial channels,’ said Jose Ramon Gonzalez at the Unions Agrarias union.

He rejected claims by producers that excessive grape production in Valdeorras would threaten the quality of wine production.

‘The DO rules are there to ensure a minimum quality is obtained, and no-one would doubt the quality from Valdeorras, even with more grape production,’ Gonzalez said. Unions say producers weigh the grapes from growers and so should have been aware of any excess in production.

Valdeorras DO said excess grape production was unearthed by inspections carried out during the 2014 harvest.

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Written by Barnaby Eales

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