When I think of sherry, I think of sour old British women, sipping small glasses of sherry at the country club. I have no idea if this is correct but I do know sherry in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, is quite different. Jerez is the birthplace of sherry wine and the hearth of Spain’s sherry triangle. I decided to learn a bit more and joined one of the best Jerez sherry tasting tours and had a blast sherry tasting in Jerez.
As one of the top things to do in Jerez, sherry tasting is a must. I show you what to look out for when booking a sherry tasting tour and how to arrange it. Read on to see what you can expect when you go sherry tasting in Jerez!
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Jerez de la Frontera
I had so much fun the first time I went to Andalusia, Spain, I knew I wanted to come back. My second road trip around southern Spain, had to include Jerez. I heard so many amazing things about this city, I decided to base myself here for 3 days. I rented a great apartment and explored Jerez and the region.
Jerez is short for Jerez de la Frontera. Although it is the largest city in the Cadiz province, it felt more like a big village. Jerez de la Frontera has a lot to offer. For example, the Atlantic Ocean is only 12 km (7,5 miles) away and the city is surrounded by vineyards and nature.
I really enjoyed my time in Jerez. Here are some quick ideas for things to do in Jerez de la Frontera:
- See a horse show at the famous Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art
- Enjoy a Flamenco show at one of Jerez’s many tabernas and tabancos
- Visit the Alcazar of Jerez and learn about the history
- Admire the Cathedral of Jerez and visit the Church of San Miquel
- Enjoy Jerez by strolling around, eating tapas or drink sherry
Or… Learn about sherry and join one of the many sherry tours in Jerez. And guess what? That is what I did.
Jerez Sherry Wine
Sherry wine is as old as the Phoenicians. Early settlement around 1100 BC show the art of wine making in the region. Sherry wine is made with white grapes that grow in the Sherry Triangle around Jerez de la Frontera.
After the Romans and the Moors who made brandy and fortified wines, the British really took over the sherry making in Jerez.
The people of England really liked the sherry wine from Jerez and many of the bodegas and famous sherry brands in modern days, have British heritage.
Is it Sherry if it doesn’t come from Jerez?
No, then it is not sherry! The name sherry is solely reserved for the wine produced with specific grapes from the Sherry Triangle around Jerez. It is protected by the name D.O. (Denominación de Origen): D.O. Jerez-Xeres-Sherry. Now that is a whole mouth full.
But what does it taste like? I wondered the exact same thing and decided to take a Jerez sherry tour to find out!
Jerez Sherry Tours
Similar to Alhambra tours in Granada or Alcazar tours in Seville, it is not hard to find a sherry tour in Jerez. Maybe it is THE reason for you to come to the city and experience a Jerez sherry tour!
Jerez holds many bodegas and producers of sherry wine. Each of these bodegas opens up to the public at certain times and under certain conditions. They all include the history of the sherry wine from Jerez de la Frontera and a tour of the bodega.
Of course, a sherry tasting to finish the tour is mandatory!
Sherry Tasting in Jerez
When you want to experience the Jerez sherry tasting, you can visit a local tabanco and order a few glasses of sherry wine. But a visit to the sherry bodega and a Jerez sherry tour will give you extensive information about the grapes they use to make sherry and to process of making sherry wine.
On the Jerez sherry tours, you’ll get to touch the Palomino grapes and you will learn the differences between a sherry Fino and Manzanilla or Amontillado and Oloroso.
Depending on which sherry tasting tour you’ve booked, it usually included at least 2 tastings of sherry. But the good thing about the Jerez sherry tours is the fact that sherry is abundant at the bodegas so you can always order more!
Gonzalez Byass Jerez Sherry Tour
During my visit to Jerez, I knew I just had to try one of the sherry tasting tours. As Jerez was on lockdown for one of its many public holidays, I didn’t have much choice. I learned that the Gonzalez Byass Bodega in Jerez was open for sherry tours on my preferred day, so I decided to join one of their sherry tours.
Gonzalez Byass in Jerez de la Frontera is one of the oldest and largest sherry bodegas in the city. It is located next to the Cathedral of Jerez. I showed up for the English sherry tour and had a great time touring the bodega.
Tio Pepe Sherry tour from Gonzalez Byass Bodega
Tio Pepe is the most famous sherry from the Gonzales Byass Bodega in Jerez. This part is a bit confusing, as many people in the world know Tio Pepe Sherry but may have never heard about Gonzales Byass.
You can find the Gonzalez Byass Jerez bodega where you can start your Tio Pepe sherry tour at: Calle de Manuel María González, 12, 11403 Jerez de la Frontera. For more info, prices and bookings click here.
The Gonzalez Byass Jerez sherry tour is given in 3 languages, you can choose for the Spanish tour (3x a day), a Germany tour (2x a day) or the English tour (3x a day).
After a warm welcome we toured the grounds of the bodega, learning about sherry making and the history of Gonzales Byass and the origin of the Tio Pepe sherry.
I was amazed at how big the bodega was. We even had to take a little train to visit the different bodegas and the whole area was covered with beautiful tropic plants and trees and cute little nooks and streets. It felt like a city within the city.
After meeting uncle Pepe (Tio Pepe), we continued through the bodega and wandered around the ancient barrels where famous visitors written their names on the barrels. It was a sport to spot the oldest signature or most famous person on the immense wooden barrels.
The sherry tour is full of fun and quirky details, which I won’t spoil for you. Just discover it for yourself!
My favorite Jerez Sherry
After all that history and learning about sherry, I was thirsty to try some myself. I booked the sherry tour with a small tasting of tapas and 2 sherry wines included (I paid €18). We were taken to a restaurant like establishment were we were served our sherries and could stay as long as we wanted.
I had the Fino sherry for tasting and a Manzanilla. But I was curious for the sweeter ones and wanted to try those too. I paid an extra €2 and got a 3rd glass of sherry for tasting.
I had a Sherry Dulce and felt my sweet tooth was nourished!
Girl, that was sweet! It was delicious but after 3 glasses of sherry, I can’t remember much anymore. It was time to return to my Jerez apartment and sleep it off.
Drunk after notes about sherry
As I was walking home in the hot Jerez late afternoon, the sun was dipping behind the Cathedral of Jerez. The statue of Tio Pepe greeted me and I contemplated about the tour.
I really liked that you could see the whole bodega and see how much hard work and dedication of the family Gonzalez Byass went into building the brand. Up front, I figured only 2 glasses of sherry tasting doesn’t really give you a good insight into what sherry is.
But for a Jerez sherry tour, 2 glasses are more than enough. You can always visit a tabanco and order some more when you go out at night.
Although I liked the sherry tasting, I don’t think I’ll start drinking it at home. Although the Jerez sherry tour showed me a whole different side of sherry, I still have the image of stiff English ladies sipping their sherries in my head. For me, the sherry is best enjoyed in Jerez. Maybe I’ll return one day.
Book your own Jerez Sherry Tasting Tour?
It is really easy to just show up in Jerez, knock on the door of one or more of the sherry bodegas in the city and book a sherry tasting tour in Jerez. If you have little time and want to avoid the risk of the tour being completed, book your tour in advance.
Would you try a sherry tour in Jerez? Have you ever tasted sherry? What did you think? Which is your favorite? Share your taste in the comment section below.