Few drinks are as closely tied to a specific region as sherry is to southern Spain.
Though it’s only produced in a tiny triangle in southwestern Andalusia, no meal or get-together in the region would be complete without it. From crisp, bone-dry manzanilla to the sweet, ebony cream variety popular among many a grandparent in the English-speaking world, it’s perhaps the only type of wine in the world that truly does provide something for everyone.
The good news: if you’re based in Seville, the sherry triangle is just a hop, skip and a jump away. That’s right—you can spend the day exploring one of these fabulous bodegas in Jerez and be back in time to watch the sun set over Triana.
Ready to go? Here’s everything you need to know before starting your sherry adventure.
An introduction to sherry wines and the Sherry Triangle
So your interest is sufficiently piqued, but maybe you’re still not exactly sure what you’re in for. For those new to the world of sherry, it’s a fortified wine produced exclusively in Andalusia. To be even more specific, it’s only produced in the triangle formed by the towns of Jerez de la Frontera, Sanlúcar de Barrameda and El Puerto de Santa María. This area is unofficially known as the Sherry Triangle.
For more information about sherry, check out the video below for a quick primer from Devour Tours expert Cyra.
Top 5 Bodegas in Jerez
1. González Byass: for the sherry newbie
No list of bodegas in Jerez would be complete without the most famous of them all: González Byass, also known as Tío Pepe in honor of the founder’s uncle. In fact, if you’ve been to Madrid, you may have even noticed the glowing neon sign bearing its name rising proudly above Puerta del Sol.
Despite its worldwide fame, González Byass remains still a family winery nearly 200 years after it was founded. A tour of their Tío Pepe bodega in the idyllic Jerez countryside will whisk you back in time to the 19th century when the family’s story began. Their polished, informative, and unpretentious experience make this an especially great option for newbies.
2. Díez Mérito: for an intimate experience
Founded by two brothers in 1876, Díez Mérito has long been synonymous with excellent sherry wine. With a beautiful setting in the heart of Jerez, the grandiose structure that houses the bodega is perfectly representative of Andalusia, with vaulting arches and a tranquil inner courtyard.
A number of tours are available, and are most often than not led by María, the wife of the head winemaker. She’ll make you feel like one of the family throughout every step of the journey, providing an intimate, personable experience that’s hard to find anywhere else.
3. Bodegas Tradición: for fans of the traditional
Believe it or not, Bodegas Tradición is one of the oldest bodegas in Jerez. Though the winery in its current form was only founded in 1998, it can trace its roots to an establishment that was first documented in 1650!
The wine production methods used today remain as traditional as possible to ensure high quality. The sherries here remain as close to their natural state as possible, without chilled filters, cold stabilization, or additives.
Tours are available in five different languages and include tastings of 20-year-old Pedro Ximénez and Cream sherries, as well as 30-year-old Oloroso and Amontillado sherries. Suffice it to say that if you’re looking for bodegas in Jerez that really know their stuff, you can’t go wrong with this place.
4. Lustau: for the connoisseur
A forward-thinking, modern winery steeped in more than a century of history, Lustau provides an experience to remember. Their goal: to promote sherry by educating guests about pairings, serving techniques, and more.
Bodega visits include a rich and varied selection of wines—six or nine, depending on the experience you choose. If you want to step up your sherry game, check out one of their themed wine experiences.
Fun fact: Out of all the bodegas in Jerez, Lustau is the only one that also operates in the other two Sherry Triangle towns!
5. Fundador: for the history buff
Bodegas Fundador has rightfully earned its place in the history of Jerez. Founded in 1730, it’s the oldest bodega in Jerez still in operation. Every aspect of this place exudes history, from the historic complex that houses it to the dozens of dark wooden barrels autographed by celebrities and royalty from years gone by.
No matter what your tastes are, there’s a Fundador experience that you’re sure to love. A traditional wine and brandy tasting? A chocolate-themed experience? A wine-and-cheese event? They’ve got it all.
Do you love wine? Do you have at least three friends or family members who also love wine? If so, you’re our kind of people.
We’d love to show you around one of our favorite bodegas in Jerez on our Jerez Winery Tour & Sherry Day Trip. This private, exclusive experience will whisk you away from busy Seville out to the idyllic countryside, where you’ll get an up-close-and-personal look at how sherry wines come to be. Cap off the day with lunch at one of the town’s best-loved tapas bars, where you’ll enjoy even more fabulous local wine paired expertly with every bite.
Life is too short to speak one language and stay in one place. In 2015, this philosophy took her from familiar Ohio to sunny southern Spain. Usually drinking tinto de verano, reading Lorca, or attempting to dance flamenco (not all at once). Follow her blog, Viatic Couture, for more.