Jerez de la Frontera retains the vestiges of an ancient era that visitors feel compelled to explore and discover.
We invite you to join us in a walk around the town, where you will experience the merging of timeless Andalusian tradition with innovative modernity, giving Jerez a unique international quality which no visitor should miss when planning a trip to this region.Historical ReviewWhat to do in Jerez
Although archaeologists have found human remains from the Upper Neolithic Age, it is agreed that, in the third millennium B. C., the Tartessians were the first protohistoric settlers to establish themselves within the Jerez region.
In Jerez, we can find legendary cultures; multiple evidence of civilizations and towns including the Tartessus, Phoenicians, Romans, Muslims, Jews, Christians and many others. They have all left their legacy of culture, art and traditions, a potent mix which has allowed this city to remain one of the most important in Andalusia.
The word ‘Jerez’ not only gives a name to the city which was called Xera by the Phoenicians in the eleventh century B.C. and, later called Ceret by the Romans. It’s also a Protected Designation of Origin for one of the most important wines in Spain, Jerez (Sherry), with its great international recognition.
The phrase “de la Frontera” refers to the border of Granada, a territory located between the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada and the Crown of Castile kindom in the Middle Ages. The winemaking practices in Jerez started over 3,000 years ago. Thanks to the magnificent strategic location of the city, as well as the weather conditions and soil, the Phoenicians produced wines which they distributed all along the Mediterranean coast, although their main destination was Rome. Their sweet white wine was the most appreciated nectar for the Romans´ highly demanding palates.
As the Arabs settled in Jerez, they brought with them many important industries, such as carpentry, looms, oil mills, dye manufacturing, alcohol distilleries and perfumery. It was during the Almoravid and the Almohad periods that the city’s greatest development occurred, when the palaces, mosques and the city center of Jerez were built. The reconquest of Jerez by Alphonse X the Wise in 1264 provided a strong economic and cultural period of growth, becoming for a long period a border town, expanding its limits to the Kingdom of Granada.
It is noteworthy that as commercial activity grew in Europe, we find the beginnings of trading activity with America, following its discovery in 1492. During the reign of Henry I of England, the city received its primary boost. With the intention of developing English manufacturing, he proposed to the Jerezans a barter: English wool in exchange for Sherry. What started as a simple exchange, in the end created a strong trade link between these two countries, thanks principally to the Sherry wine. England has been, for years, the largest foreign customer in Jerez de la Frontera and the main consumer of the coveted Sherry.
If there is a well-known wine in the world, it is Sherry. It is produced in a unique place, the magic triangle formed by Jerez, Sanlúcar de Barrameda and Puerto de Santa María. This unique situation, where the albariza soil and the warm weather, softened by the Atlantic ocean, yields magnificent and versatile varieties of Palomino and Pedro Ximenez grapes, providing simple wines which, after long aging in an original dynamic system (criaderas and soleras – where wine vintages converge in different proportions), are transformed into internationally renowned oenological jewels.
Winners of every award in International Competitions, these wines create an irresistible desire in all who taste them, a desire to be introduced to the “magic” of Sherry, in its majestic Cathedral cellars. There is so much to be learned about this fascinating invaluable range of wines – their quality, longevity and rarity – all beginning with the biological aging, where the flor slowly transforms the former wine into fino sherry, Wine of Truth. And then, following aging by oxidation, we have the development of the great amontillado sherries – oloroso wines and the famous palo cortado sherry, the one marked with chalk and with “duende”(magic charm).
We cannot forget Pedro Ximénez sweet wines, made from raisined grapes of the same variety, the Nectar of the Sun. In the same cathedrals, using sherry casks that have contained many of the wines for years and with an identical system of criadera and solera aging, another one of the star products in Jerez matures, the Brandy. With a unique personality, differentiating it from other brandies, and after being hidden for some years and supplemented with other alcoholic beverages, it is crowned as one of the noblest and most highly prized drinks in the world.
Jerez is still considered one of the most important cities in Andalusia, not only for its historical and cultural legacy, but also for its unstoppable growth through recent projects such as the designation of European Wine Capital 2014, City of Flamenco and first World Motorcycling Capital 2015.
You will encounter wine cellars, grape harvests, fine wines, Spanish horses, Easter Processions, Horse Fairs, Flamenco and, of course the magic of our local Fairs!
It is all here for you to experience and enjoy.