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Terrorist Group Bombs Second Winery in Spain

Basque separatist group ETA is being blamed for a small explosion at El Coto last weekend

Jacob Gaffney
Posted: November 23, 2005

Terrorist group ETA has reportedly claimed responsibility for the bombing of another wine property in Spain. This time, the blast went off outside a winery owned by Rioja producer El Coto de Rioja, on Nov. 19, nearly one week after an explosive detonated at La Rioja Alta.

"As in the case of La Rioja Alta, it was a very small device that caused very limited damage," said Jaime Echavarri, director general of El Coto. He added that, compared with La Rioja Alta, El Coto was a less vulnerable target. "[The bomb] was set to one of our water-cooling machines outside one building's walls, well within our property, fully fenced and with active and passive security elements that, unfortunately, could not prevent this action."

The damage was slight, according to Echavarri, and went unnoticed, until local Basque police received a call, allegedly from an ETA spokesperson, claiming responsibility for the blast. To be on the safe side, the entire winery was evacuated on Monday, while police searched the grounds. Employees were allowed to return to work late Tuesday.

ETA, which stands for Euskadi Ta Askatasuna or "Basque Homeland and Liberty," is believed to be targeting what it sees as symbols of Spanish industry. The group sometimes uses extreme violence to further its agenda: to establish a separate nation encompassing the Basque provinces in Spain and France.

El Coto winery is located in the Basque province of Alava, in the town of Oyón, on the northern border of La Rioja province but still within the borders of the designated Rioja wine-producing area. El Coto's Riojas have generally received good to very good ratings (80 to 89 points on the 100-point scale) from Wine Spectator. The winery produces 1.5 million cases per year.

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