One of the major bones of contention derives from just how good this year has been. The Rioja is the only wine-producing region in Spain that bears the label DOC (denominación de origen de calidad), and therefore is subject to especially stringent controls regarding quantity and quality of production. Each farmer may sell a certain amount of grapes, no more, depending on the amount of land under cultivation.

This year the grapes have been wildly abundant, and it is estimated that some 80 million kilograms have been left on the vine because they exceeded the quotas permitted for sale. Indeed, due to the weather conditions during harvest week, the grapes left on the vine are probably the very finest quality ones. For economically-pinched farmers, it is a blow to the heart to see those grapes left for the birds, and many demand to be allowed to sell the surplus as well, despite DOC regulations. Others claim this would flood the market and imperil the status of the DOC product.

The story is here.