The Fundador Bodega in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain

There are 64 bodegas in Jerez.  It would be impossible to visit them all so we chose one closest to our hotel. We toured the Fundador Bodega, one of the oldest founded in 1730. It is still operating and produces wonderful world famous sherries and brandy. It discovered the process for making brandy and manufactures the Fundador brandies, the Terry brand, the Harvey brand, and the important Spanish Tres Cepas brand created in 1874.

The famous Harveys sherry was founded in 1796 in Bristol (England) by the merchant William Perry who stored wines imported from Spain and Portugal in cellars dating from the 13th century. In 1822 John Harvey joined the company and gave it its current name in 1871.  Harveys Bristol Cream is the result of a meticulous selection of 30 wines aged in American oak casks and is the most sold brand of Jerez wine in the world. It is available in more than 70 countries and is a market leader in the United Kingdom, USA and Canada. A bottle of Bristol Cream is consumed somewhere every six seconds.

Our tour of the winery took well more than an hour and was led by an excellent guide who explained every aspect of the manufacturing process and its history. We viewed one of the huge cellars where the wine is stored and aged. It was larger than six football fields and contained more than 60,000 barrels. Many famous people, members of Royalty, movie stars and well known literary figures and musicians have visited here. Even Bo Derek came and signed a barrel.

We were also shown a museum filled with ancient implements, costumes, carriages, paintings and photographs. The tour ended with an opportunity to sample and taste their products. We tried them all and found that a generous splash of Bristol Cream poured over ice and a fresh orange slice was the nicest by far. We bought a bottle and enjoyed it at home in our villa but it seemed to disappear very quickly.

This is a wonderful visit and the small entrance fee is well worth it.

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