The president of the Regulatory Council of the Rioja Qualified Denomination (DOCa Rioja) Fernando Ezquerro has informed this Friday that the Denomination will present an administrative appeal against the decision of the Basque Government to give the green light to the registration of ‘Viñedos de Álava’. According to Ezquerro, 98.4% of the council has supported this initiative only the Rioja Alavesa Winery Association (ABRA), which is the promoter of ‘Viñedos de Álava’, has voted against it. This group has a single representative (3 votes) on the regulatory council out of a total of 16 members (100 votes). Yes, there have been two abstentions, corresponding to Araex and UAGA.
Ezquerro has defended that they will present “all the resources that are necessary to defend the integrity of the Rioja Qualified Denomination and the goodwill that this brand has generated over the last 97 years.” In this sense, he explained that this first administrative appeal is directed against the decision of the executive shared by the PNV and the Basque Socialists in Vitoria to endorse the split of the Rioja Alavesa. The president of the regulatory council of Rioja has acknowledged that, in the event of a negative ruling, they will go to the High Court of Justice of the Basque Country (TSJPV).
In this sense, he also lamented that the ‘Viñedos de Álava’ initiative is already doing “damage” to the Denomination and believes that “not good for brand position that Rioja has in the world”. Ezquerro added that “we are talking about a population in Rioja Alavesa of barely 12,000 inhabitants, in a Denomination that generates a value of 1,500 million euros and, transferred to the area, is a third, 500 million euros”.
“Political decisions and indecisions”
The head of the regulatory council, has defended that the sector generates in the Alava area of the Denomination a per capita income of practically 40,000 euros higher than the average of the Basque Country and the rest of Spain. For Ezquerro, behind all of the above, there is political decisions and indecisions that they are generating damage that we hope will not be irreparable«.
Regarding the presence of Víctor Oroz, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Policy of the Basque Country, he has assured that he has tried to be “aseptic” in his statements on this subject. In this line, the president of the regulatory council has highlighted that there is “a large part of the winegrowers and wineries in the area that feel offended by this initiative.”