Update 1 August: This law has now been approved and is on the statute books. Guachinches have three months to comply before sanctions will be taken against any who break the law.
Original post 7 June: Guachinches are small taverns, for want a better description, which are attached to or part of the main house of vineyards and which sell whatever homemade meals are being cooked that day, along with wine from the tavern’s own vineyard. By definition, given home produced food and wine, they are seasonal, and since the overheads are minimal, prices are low. As a result, and also because they are by their nature in out of the way rural locations and “authentically Canarian”, they are extremely popular.
Or at least, that’s what guachinches should be. Because of their success, some have become more like fully commercial restaurants, with wines bought in when the bodega’s own has run out, and with menus offering commercially prepared meals all year round. And as their success has grown, so has opposition and pressure from the catering sector, which claims the guachinches represent unfair competition.
Now, as a result, regulation is to be legislated by the Canarian Government, and yesterday the draft law was approved in the regional Parliament. It will now pass to consultation and should be in Parliament in around three weeks’ time for final approval and publication in the Boletín Oficial de Canarias (BOC). The approved law is expected to be on the statute books by the end of this month.
Once it is in place, guachinches will have to register with their island Cabildo, and will be given a plaque that must be displayed outside the premises. They will only be able to operate for four months of the year, and must stop even before that if they have run out of their own produce. They will only be allowed to offer a choice of three meals, all of which must not only be homemade but also primarily contain only the vineyard’s own produce or that which is from its immediate area. All wine must be the vineyard’s own. Police will be empowered to inspect and even to force closure if the guachinche is found to be breaking the law.