Wine society visits sherry country

Contributed

More than 40 members of the Algarve Wine Society visited the sherry region of Spain recently. The trip was organised and led by society member, Erla Walther, who has considerable experience of the sherry business. Leading figures in the trade explained to members every aspect of sherry production, including the preparation of the ground, planting, growing, harvesting and vinification.

On the first day, a ‘workers country lunch’ was provided at Domecq’s vineyards, with the visitors agreeing that they certainly fed the workers well! In the afternoon, Jorge Pascual Hernández, president of the regulatory body, Consejo Regulador, provided a detailed introduction to sherry and a tasting of the various types now made. This was followed by an open top London bus tour of the town of Jerez de la Fronteira, tapas and a traditional flamenco show.

The group also visited the Bodega of Gonzales Byass, including the private cellar of the founder’s uncle Tio Pepe. The visitors then enjoyed a new multi-media presentation of the history of the area and a visit to the Palacio Del Tiempo with its famous clock collection.

On then to San Lucar de Barrameda for a superb lunch, served with sherries and the local white wine, and an introduction to Manzanilla sherry in the Bodega Barbadillo. In the evening, a reception and a more formal dinner was provided in the delightful setting of the Consejo Regulador’s premises with their Director General, César Saldaña.

On the last day, Sandeman’s Bodega answered the rest of the members’ questions regarding sherry production, and also provided an ideal venue for an al fresco lunch. Of course, no visit to Jerez can be complete without a visit to the famous Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art, which is situated next to Sandeman’s, and the group was entertained to a display by these amazing horses before returning to the Algarve.

The next Algarve Wine Society event is its summer party on June 27. The next trip will be a visit to Burgundy, from September 27 to October 3. For details of either of these, or for more information about the Society, please contact the chairman, Michael Savage, on 965 348 604 or e-mail michaeljsavage@compuserve.com