Close Menu

‘Immense lack of grapes’ behind Freixenet furlough

Cava producer Freixenet is in the midst of ongoing negotiations to trigger a “short-time work” mechanism as Catalan Government refuses to accept ‘force majeure’ as justification for the furlough.

Instagram @freixenet

The Catalan Government has issued a statement saying that it cannot accept force majeure (defined as unforeseeable circumstances that prevent someone from fulfilling a contract) as the reason for short-time work at Freixenet S.A. and Segura Viudas S.A.U.

In light of this announcement, sparkling wine giant Freixenet told the drinks business that it will continue to carry out “constructive negotiations” about short-time work with unions as the severe impact of the ongoing drought in Catalonia continues to bite. So far the three-year drought has resulted in a deficit of approximately 80 million bottles in the Cava sector.

While Freixenet says it acknowledges the government’s decision, the company “remains adamant” that the temporary furlough programme it announced on 22 April for 80% of its Catalan employees is necessary, and that the climatic condition justifies an application for a “short-time work phase for economic, technical, organisational or production reasons”.

The company says that such a move aims to protect employment.

Immense lack of grapes

“The immense lack of grapes and base wine for the production of Cava leads to massively reduced work in the production processes,” Freixenet said. “This is a consequence of the extreme drought in the regions of Alt Penedès, Baix Penedès, El Garraf and Camp de Tarragona, which was confirmed again in the 31 March 2024 Standard Rainfall Index from the Meteorological Service of Catalonia and which has been increasingly affecting the sector since 2021.”

Since then, Freixenet and other Cava producers, alongside worker unions and grape growers, has been urging the DO to update official Cava regulations and take
measures to counteract the supply situation.

While the DO agreed to approve extraordinary measures for the next harvest, Freixenet says it was “neither enough nor in time to avoid a short-time working mechanism.”

A spokesperson told db that “Freixenet will continue to work with all Cava stakeholders to find a way to overcome this challenge that seriously affects the entire sector.”

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No