Sombras Nada Más

Further to the celebration of the 75th anniversary of Vélez-Málaga artist Eugenio Chicano, I’d like to share this anecdote with you that shows both his wit and generosity.

The first bottles of Málaga Conarte were about to hit the market for Christmas 2008, but there was a problem – the boxes didn’t arrive on time! The other bodegas, which had bottles the same size as Conarte, solved the problem by simply using their own boxes even though they didn’t have the Conarte brand on them.

But as we only use half bottles for our Jorge Ordoñez & Co sweet wines, and “una borgona” for Botani, that is shorter than the Conarte, our boxes wouldn’t work for the new wine. I was getting desperate as the Christmas campaign was coming up and we wouldn’t be able to fill our orders without any boxes. I spoke to the regulatory council but they couldn’t do anything, though they finally sent me some unmarked boxes. It seemed to me that the Victoria Conarte was too good a wine (rated 95 in the Peñin Guide) to put in a plain cardboard box. And now comes the good part.

It occurred to me to call Eugenio Chicano and explain what happened to him, and his response was “Bring the boxes to my studio and I’ll paint them myself!” We ended up with almost 200 boxes, hand-painted one by one and bearing his signature, after various sessions in his studio in which I assisted by drying the painted boxes with a hair dryer. He would not even accept a gift of wine as he has been teetotal for many years. But I had a chance to meet and spend time with a great conversationalist who, like me, is also a music lover. We were listening to boleros and this year I hope to fulfill the promise I made to sing his favourite bolero to him – Sombras nada más.

[La versión en español abajo]

Las primeral botellas de Málaga Conarte salieron al mercado en las navidades de 2008. Pero hubo un problema: las cajas no llegaron a tiempo! Las otras bodegas, como ya embotellaban con botellas de tamaño similar, resolvieron la situación usando sus propias cajas aunque no eran de la marca Conarte. Como nosotros solo usamos medias botellas para los dulces Jorge Ordoñez & Co y una borgona para el Botani, que es más baja que la de Conarte, nuestras cajas no valían para este nuevo producto. Yo estaba desesperada, veía como se venia la campana de navidad encima y que no podría atender los pedidos. Hablaba con el consejo regulador, pero no podían hacer nada. Finalment me enviaron cajas anónmias. Me parecía que el Victoria Conarte era mucho vino (punctuación 95 en el Guía Peñín) para meterlo en una caja en blanco.

Y aquí empieza lo bueno: se me ocurrió llamar a Eugenio Chicano y explicarle lo sucedido: “traemalas a mi estudio y te las pinto yo”. Llego a pintar una a una casi 200 cajas que llevan su firma en varias sesiones en su estudio que yo iba secando con un secador de pelo. No acepto ni siquiera que le regalara vino -es abstemio desde hace muchos años. Y además tuve así la oportunidad de conocerle: es un magnífico conversador y, como yo, ama la musica. Estuvimos oyendo boleros y espero poder este año cumplir la promesa que le hice de cantarle su bolero favorito: Sombras nada más.

One Response

  1. A nice story! I remember another one that I was told by a small importer in Poland, about 1800 wooden boxes that were delivered at 6 pm, and the next morning it was a deadline for shipping the wines in these boxes to the client. No one went to bed on that night…

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