MOST, but not all, of the cava consumed in Spain this Christmas will come from Cataluña.
However, cava is also produced in La Rioja, Aragon, the Basque Region, Castilla y Leon, Valencia and Extremadura, meaning that the opening shots have been fired in the annual Cava War.
Hostilities arise from a combination of commerce and politics and each year the skirmishes are more aggressive.
Almendralejo (Badajoz) is the only Extremadura municipality authorised to produce cava and growers there speak of “humiliation.”
Like other producers, Almendralejo is unhappy at government-imposed quotas and complains that the future of the area’s cava bodegas is endangered by protectionist policies favouring Cataluña.
“We could multiply the number of cava vines because demand is enormous,” said Juan Antonio Alvarez, manager of the Almendralejo’s Comunidad de Labradores.
“But the Cava Regulatory Council decided that nobody here can grow more although they’re saturated in Cataluña where national sales haven’t grown for years.”
Alvarez maintained that Catalan producers saw Almendralejo, where production could safely be tripled, as a threat.
Last year the Ministry of Agriculture allocated another 172.2 hectares of land for cava production to be divided amongst all regions, headed by Cataluña, which received 85 per cent.
This year the Ministry is expected to announce another 377 hectares on December 30 but Almendralejo is no happier as allocations will be restricted to reconverting existing vineyards instead of planting new land with vines.