Once a year something extraordinary happens in a diminutive wine shop hidden out of sight at Tarragona’s Plaça del Forum.
Bodega Enric is a local institution and a bit of a lifeline. As one of the only two dedicated wine shops left in the old quarter it supplies mainly wine but also beer and household goodies to those not able or not willing to make the journey below to the local supermarket. Walk inside and the dim light shines upon rows of wines, vermouths, liqueurs, beers, olive oils and sundries arranged without much care and functionality inside the dinky interior. Like any respectable bodega air smells a little sour and dusty from decades of decanting from the large barrels into plastic containers brought in from the local clientele. Children walk in with their parents change for a fizzy drink and the inevitable old lady olds stops the clock ticking while she counts her change.
Enric, master of the establishment, is of the dour kind, or at least he pretends to be. He makes sure that kids pay up because life is not a freebie and he keeps a little book scribbled with numbers and names. When the shop is empty you can sometime catch him at the bar next door from where he surveys a square whose lifestyle has changed beyond recognition. With Barcelona on the brink of saturation tourism has spilled over, bringing an avalanche of bars and small restaurants into its wake. The result has been a local backlash against the “uglification” of a once tranquil area which has forced the council to take notice and the licence handouts have stopped. Enric, is philosophical about this: things come and go and he is probably right.
Yet, one thing that hopefully will neither stop nor change is the one time a year when the procession of Santa Tecla passing through the little wine shop.
It’s a bit of a tradition; the first procession makes makes a beeline to grab a tipple and refreshment before continuing its journey downhill. I was invited along to record this moment of chaotic fun back in 2015, squeezed into a corner together with a local photographer. You could hardly get a single straight shot but enric was in his element despite throwing the anxious look around to make sure nothing got broken.
I leave you with some happy shots of the occasion.