Jerez, to give it it's full name - Jerez de la Frontera, is located inland about 20 km from Sanlucar in the Spanish province of Cadiz. Jerez holds acclaim worldwide for its sherry and brandy production. The word Jerez is derived from Arabic and has now become synonymous with the English word ‘sherry’. The city is equally famous for its fine horses as well as Flamenco music and dance.
The town dates back to Moorish times and possesses a charming old town, with beautiful palm lined squares and an 11th century Moorish fortress, or Alcazaba, which has been partially restored. Of special interest is its church, originally built by the Arabs as a mosque. The Sacristy of the Cathedral del Salvador is home to a lovely painting by Zurbaran, The Sleeping Girl. Today the city of Jerez oozes a remarkably aristocratic air with its wide streets, squares and magnificent rows of jacaranda trees during spring.
Today the city of Jerez has a remarkably aristocratic air with wide streets, squares and magnificent rows of jacaranda trees during spring
The whole of the countryside surrounding Jerez is devoted to the growing grapes for the production of sherry. The sherry production 'houses' are located in the centre of the town of Jerez and are generally associated with an element of snobbery and aristocratic pride, even to this day.
The Spanish word bodega meaning "cellar", but its generic meaning is "wine manufacturer". Visitors take guided tours of the many Jerez bodegas, such as Gonzalez Byass, Pedro Domecq and Sandeman. British winemakers have been connected to this region for centuries, which is why many of the names have an Anglo-Saxon ring to them. Tours of the cellars take place on weekdays, followed by sampling of the various types of wine produced. Worth a visit.
Apart from wine and sherry, Jerez is also famous for its long-standing Flamenco tradition, making it an excellent place to watch this great art. The Flamenco festival of Jerez is held around the end of February and into beginning of March each year and is one of the most important in the world.