Spanish architecture has real jewels, such as Palacio Domecq, a majestic icon of the eighteenth century civil architecture in Jerez.
As if it were a museum, paintings, tapestries, sculptures and fine materials brought in specifically for the Palace, from Italy, Flanders and France, create a masterpiece of exceptional artistic and cultural unity.
With a quadrangular floor plan, the building contains an axis that links the portico and the façade, imperial stairs to a patio with red marble columns creating hypnotic views. And we can’t forget the beauty of its coffered ceilings.
Its majestic balconies with ornate undulating moulding invite and compel the viewer, giving way to one of the finest views in Jerez. Once inside its gallery, we enter a delightful variety of rooms whose decor is a benchmark in style and perfection in form, thanks to the works of art housed within them; the harmonious composition of decorative elements offers a sublime touch to a palace like this.FamilyGalleryPalace History
The origins of the Domecq family date back to 1385 in southern France, in the region of Bearn. Early writings appear to suggest that the Domecq family from Verguerie de Usquain is one of the oldest families in the region, related to the nobility.
On March 18, 1666, Juan de Domecq received, from Louis XIV, the Sun King, a pair of white gloves and a sword as a token of appreciation for his help to the Crown.
These symbols still remain in the family crest, which can be seen in the coat of the Palace’s main façade, in countless places inside the house and in different decorative motifs.
It is in 1730 when the Domecq family acquired the first winery, initiating a substantial and innovative trading activity, contrary to the one existing at that time. It is highly likely that this was the moment which marks the beginning of a long and noble wine activity which the family will never abandon, right up to the present.
Those responsible for this great initiative were Pedro Domecq Lembeye (1787-1839) along with his granduncle Juan Haurie (1719-1794), who gave the name Domecq its recognition abroad, acquiring great prestige and prominence in the commercial scene.
The family saga begins with the marriage of Pedro Domecq Lembeye and Diana Lancaster (in 1814), who was related to the English Royal family.
They had five daughters: Diana, Adela, Cecilia, Alicia and Carolina. As each one married in France, they disassociated themselves from the family business in Jerez, leaving Pedro’s brother, Juan Pedro Domecq Lembeye, to become involved in the winery with the aim of helping in the company’s development.
On the accidental death of Pedro Domecq Lembeye at age 52, his brother Juan Pedro acquired all the company shares and became owner of the firm. He achieved great successes in the Domecq winery and acquired the palace in 1855, where he and his descendants resided.
Juan Pedro never married, but he left an exceptional heir, his natural son Juan Pedro de Aladro (1845-1914), who not only continued the family business with his cousin Pedro Domecq Loustau (1824-1894), together making the winery into a prosperous company, but who was also a diplomat, spoke eight languages, pretended the Albanian throne (his mother was Princess Kastriota), and was famed for his cultivated ways and immense generousity – truly a Man for All Seasons! Juan Pedro divided his life between Paris and Jerez, and during his stays in Jerez, lived in the Palace he inherited from his father, adding to it a fantastic library rich with rare volumes and innumerable works of art.
Juan Pedro Aladro y Domecq was finally recognized as a legitimate son by his father, he died without progeny, so the winery passed into the hands of the Domecq Loustau family.
Merits and corporate awards at that time reached a zenith when, in 1867, Pedro Domecq Loustau received a request from a friend to produce 500 hogsheads of high quality alcohol. Once the requirement was completed, the client communicated that he couldn’t afford the payment. Pedro Domecq stored the 500 hogsheads in American oak casks inside the cellar.
Five years later, he accidentally discovered that the stored wine had become a precious golden liquid with a strong but delicate flavour. It was baptized with the name of Brandy – ‘Fundador’.
This discovery opened new, unimaginable markets. Pedro Domecq Loustau ordered from England and France the necessary stills and machinery to start manufacturing this fantastic beverage. It was in 1874 when the legendary Brandy “Fundador”, the winery’s flagship, was born.
From the last quarter of the nineteenth century until the mid-twentieth century, Domecq gained enormous prestige thanks to the expansion of its products both within and beyond our borders.
In the twentieth and twenty-first century, the Domecq Family continues unstoppable, leading the business and generating trade activities, like their ancestors, leaving an indelible legacy in the economic and cultural history of Spain.
The history of this house begins in 1775, when Antonio Cabezas de Aranda y Guzmán, first Marquis of Montana, gave orders to build a palace in the Plain of San Sebastián. After numerous efforts to obtain the necessary permits, he was finally able to carry out his project; a beautiful Baroque palace in a unique location. The architects were the Sevillianos, Antonio Matías de Figueroa, Pedro de Cos, and Juan Díaz de la Guerra.
On March 21, 1776, Antonio Cabezas de Aranda y Guzmán bought Santo Domingo Abbey, adjacent to the palace. This purchase by the Marquis would allow, in the future, annexation of the convent to the palace, still at that point, in construction.
The essential works to render the Palace habitable ended in 1782. Final completion did not come until the first owner’s death, the Marquis of Montana, in 1785. In his testament and last wishes, in case he died without progeny, as happened, he wanted the Palace to be managed by the Chapter of the Collegiate Church of Jerez. The plan was that they would lease the Palace, as the Marquis requested, and the benefits would go to cover the costs of the city’s Hospital for Women.
Juan Pedro Domecq Lembeye (1796-1869) bought the palace in 1855 for more than half a million real de vellón coins. Since that time, from the first acquisition in 1855,
until 1964, the palace had always been inhabited by the Domecq family, which gave rise to the name Palacio Domecq.
In the early twentieth century, the palace was restored by Francisco Hernández-Rubio. Later, in 1964, the architect Vicente Masaveu made a second important reformation. The winery with the same name bought the palace in 1964 and then, after a brief period, it was once again returned to the family Domecq.
Palacio Domecq was declared Heritage of Cultural Interest in 2003.