The next stop on our group’s first full day in Spain — after the Real Escuela — was Bodegas Fundador, maker of sherry and brandy. The winery and building complex is one of the oldest bodegas in Jerez de la Frontera and was started by a branch of the Domecq family. The facility and its various brands and labels are now owned, along with other sherries and the famous Harveys Bristol Cream, by Beam Global.

We started our visit with a short movie that taught us about the importance of climate and soil conditions to the grapes used in sherry production, and that the sherry-making “triangle” in this part of Spain — from Jerez down to El Puerto de Santa Maria, and over to Sanlúcar de Barrameda — has these necessary qualities in abundance.

From there, we left on a guided tour of the sprawling facility …

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… and we were acquainted with the unique way sherry is made and aged.

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our tour guide pointing out the various types of sherry, while explaining what makes each one unique

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From there, we walked into the brandy cellar, where we learned that the now-famous Fundador Brandy began as a mistake when someone(s) forgot about some barrels of sherry and left them to age for far too long. When they found and opened the barrels, they decided that their “oops” was actually quite tasty. This brandy was first marketed by the Domecq family in 1874, and it’s now Spain’s largest export brandy.

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our tour guide explaining how the bodega's brandy is made

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And then, finally, we were allowed to taste a few of these libations!

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before the tasting (our tour guide explaining the four types we would be trying) ...

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... and during the tasting (why, yes, they were all quite tasty!)