28 Jun History of Sherry
Jerez wine or Sherry, is the Spanish wine range produced mainly in Jerez de la Frontera, El Puerto de Santa María and Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Furthermore, it is possible finding great wines in other towns around that area as Chiclana de la Frontera, Chipiona, Puerto Real, Rota and Trebujena, and Lebrija which is located in the province of Sevilla. The area where sherry is produced is known as ´The sherry wine region´.
Due to the old history of the province of Cádiz, which is more than 3,000 years old, sherry and the way it has been produced, has also a very interesting and long past. Cádiz is a city that was established by Phenian´s merchants. Archaeologists and historians believe that those people originally brought to the Sherry wine region the necessary knowledge and tools to elaborate wine. It is also known that the wine produced in the province of Cádiz was distributed and sold in the most influential cities of the Roman empire, as for example, Rome.
The Arabic conquer started in 711, and even with the prohibition of producing wine with human consumption purposes, Jerez kept its name as one of the main wine regions in the world. The sherries produced in the province of Cádiz during that period had mainly medical purposes. The greatest years of the sherry produced in Cádiz were during and after the christian re-conquer of the iberian peninsula during the 12th and 13th Century. At that times still the name used to identify wines produced in the province of Cádiz was Sherish due to the Arabic name of the city. They were already sold in England, other European territories and all around the Mediterranean Sea.
After America was discovered and partially conquered by mainly Spaniers, sherries were quickly exported to all the Spanish colonies in the new continent. The 19th Century was also special for the wine industry in Cádiz. Several businessmen primarily from País Vasco, and other regions of the north of the country moved to Cádiz seeking for investing in this highly demanded delicatessen product.
The Sherry wine region and other wine regions in Europe, had some difficulties during the last years of the century. An epidemic caused by an insect imported from America damaged most of the vineyards in Europe. However, Cádiz was one of the first recovered areas. After those hard years for the wine industry, the sherries produced in the province of Cádiz enjoyed a period of constant progress and growth.
The main sherry threat now is the production of substitutes in other regions of the world. The Denomination of Origin Jerez and its Consejo Regulador were set up with the purpose of reducing the negative impact caused by these substitutes in the latter half of the 19th Century.