Ruta del Vino y Brandy de Jerez is one of the most visited in Spain with over 400,000 visits last year, but it is too focused on city centre bodegas with visitor centres, and very few visitors have the opportunity to visit the vineyards. To put this right, a new vineyard route project has been launched, with the hope of funding from European ITI (Integrated Territorial Investment) grants.
César Saldaña, director of the Consejo Regulador, was unanimously re-elected yesterday as president of the Ruta del Vino y Brandy association at an extraordinary general meeting and accepted the challenge saying “we have spectacular countryside and vineyards only a stone’s throw away and the boost offered by the ITI funds is fundamental, but we must do things properly, step by step.”
The project promises employment and involvement in the project, but a few already identified problems must be solved first. The main one is that to receive the funds, the case needs to be justified and the total cost predicted. Of the 4.2 million euros available for wine tourism, there will be some half a million for the design of the route and its definition which will be the association’s responsibility. Later some 2 million will be available for infrastructures, mostly repair of country roads, and the rest for individual projects.
|Members of the association at the Consejo's bodega San Gines (foto:diariodejerez)|
But there is another problem. While European funding for public administrations is 100%, private ones only receive 90% meaning that the association will need to find 50,000 to bridge the gap while its members only pay an annual subscription of 200. It was details like this which occupied a large part of yesterday’s meeting, and the directors will need to tackle at a further meeting the possibilities there are to face a challenge in which “we have accepted that the design needs to be different from the Ruta del Vino y Brandy yet it should in some way amalgamate all the knowledge and experience from the wine tourism point of view, and for that we will need to be creative to get the maximum benefit from the grant”. They are not ruling out some sort of agreement with public administration which would allow them the full grant.