Tirgo (La Rioja) (EFE).- Almost a year and a half after the eruption in La Palma, it is still important to maintain ties of solidarity with those affected, something for which gastronomy and wine are excellent vehicles.
This was stated by the Basque chef Martín Berasategui, one of the most prestigious in Spain, at the event called “Uvas para La Palma” at Bodegas Tarón, in the Riojan town of Tirgo.
This Rioja cooperative winery brought together several restaurateurs from the area a year ago, in a solidarity act to raise funds that will go to the winegrowers of La Palma; This Monday, one of the members of the Regulating Council of the Denomination of Origin Wines of La Palma, Raúl Melián, has collected the proceeds from that act, 7,500 euros.
But beyond this amount, as he himself has recognized, this act has given visibility to “a current of solidarity in the world of wine”, personified by the president of the Regulatory Council of the Rioja Qualified Designation of Origin, Fernando Ezquerro, and of the President of the Government of La Rioja, Concha Andreu.
In addition, solidarity with the hoteliers of La Palma has also been symbolized, through Martín Berasategui and another Basque restaurateur, Ignacio Muguruza.
They have all intervened before a dozen La Rioja restaurateurs, who, incidentally, have had the opportunity to taste La Palma wines, something almost impossible in this region, due to the limited production of some wines that come from 500 hectares of vineyards, part of which was damaged by the eruption in Cumbre Vieja.
However, the problem faced by wine production on La Palma is not only the part that was damaged, but “the generational change, because young people do not take the step of putting themselves in charge of the productions, their commitment and we are working for it,” Melián explained to EFE.
“There are older people who lost their vineyards and I am afraid that they are not going to plant others anymore”, the representative of the Denomination of La Palma has admitted.
“That is why we want, in some way, to have young people who can pick up the baton, whether these vines can be planted elsewhere or if it can be done at some point on volcanic soil, something that we are studying, because, After all, these vines were already on volcanic soil”, Melián detailed.
Regarding this act, he stressed that “we can only be very grateful” because “a winery with a denomination like Rioja has remembered us, we barely have a presence outside the island.”
An island where “we see that they are working” on the reconstruction of the affected areas “and of course there is a lot to do and that there are people who are having a hard time, but they are trying, they are working, especially to recover the infrastructures,” he concluded.
Martín Berasategui has admitted that he is an “emotional” person and that is why he did not hesitate to come to this initiative when it was proposed to him “because in La Palma there was and is a lot of suffering” since “we are all preparing to compete and work on our own, but no one imagines such a thing as the eruption of a volcano, with the consequences it had.
“I wanted to show solidarity with the restaurateurs who were left with nothing overnight” because “it’s useless to cook or work in other fields if we don’t remember those who have a problem like this,” the Basque chef said in statements to EFE.
Alluding to the world of wine “we also want to send a bottle of hope to La Palma” but “the important thing, also for restaurateurs and viticulturists, is to think less about the self and more about the us”.
«You get out of problems by fighting hard and I am sure that on the island they will have a prize because everyone will help them» and «for the hoteliers there, you have to go to La Palma, save to spend there, because if We add many small details, we will once again make a great La Palma”, he concluded.
The Basque restaurateur Ignacio Muguruza was the one who proposed this initiative to Bodegas Tarón “because we all saw that among those affected by the volcano were some winegrowers who had lost their harvest, which is what we all eat,” the president of the association explained to EFE. cooperative, Angel Samaniego.
“With a solidarity harvest we wanted to symbolize the help of the towns that are in the cooperative with the people of La Palma”, he detailed, “but, above all, we wanted to symbolize that when the time of a catastrophe passes, it cannot be forgotten “, it is finished.
In the same vein, the president of the regional government, has underlined the “solidarity” of La Rioja and all the winegrowers of Rioja, a denomination of which areas of the Basque Country and Navarra are also part, she recalled.
“There are times when they have had to lend a hand to us and that is why we do not forget to do it when others are in need,” Andreu concluded. EFE