The die is cast

In view of recent happenings in Catalonia, it is logical that companies based there stay on red alert. Apart from the 30 or more major firms that have already left, another 692+ companies no longer have their head offices there. Those that stay - or even set up elsewhere but are indelibly Catalan - face the possibility of a boycott of their products.

Codorníu, the oldest family business in Spain (1531) considers itself “Catalan and Spanish”, and laments the fact that it has been linked to the independence movement. “We have denied this time and time again”, they state.

Freixenet is faced with a double boycott, on one hand by the anti-Catalan Spanish market and the other by the 'independentistas' who believe it is supportive, as indeed its chairman has declared constantly.

Seems like they are condemned to lose out whatever, and the up-and-coming cavas being produced now in most Spanish regions are of a quality that represents serious competition.

Bodegas Torres, another of the country's oldest family businesses, has made no statement or showed support for either side, reflecting the intelligence that the company has always demonstrated. 75% of its wines are sold outside Spain, and they have non-Catalan bodegas in other parts of the country as well as Chile and California. It may be the winery least affected of all by political developments of any kind.

Insecurity is the worst enemy of investors, as the Canadian province of Quebec demonstrates well. After two referendums to promote independence in 1980 and 1995, practically all the province's large companies left, most for Toronto.

Even though Quebec's independence seems very unlikely at present, none intend to return. But just changing the location of a wine-producer's head office may not be enough to solve the problem. The vineyards will stay in Catalonia for the foreseeable future and wherever the wine is made or bottled, the grapes will still be natives of the region.