There are many bodegas in and around Jerez – and considering the fame of product of the city you might consider going to one to learn more about the production of sherry. One of the biggest producers in the city is González Byass which has a large bodega in the outskirts of the old town in Jerez.
If you go and join a tour there will be a prize for you at the end if you are at legal drinking age so you might consider joining if you want to try a bit of the local products. When you buy your ticket to go in you have the option to upgrade your sherry tasting from two to four different sherries and on selection times you can further upgrade to some very old sherries. I think it was on the midday tour you had this option – it clearly wasn’t on the late afternoon tour we were joining.
After getting the ticket we still have a bit of time before the tour start. So there is time to have a look in the big reception hall behind the ticket office which is a nice old room – and there are a lot of photos on the wall of people who have visited the bodega during the years. It is a pretty wide variety of celebrities who have come to visit the bodega – there are royalties, formula 1 world champions, actors, politicians, Nobel Prize recipients and a lot of Spanish celebrities I have never heard of before. After looking at all the photos for a while it is finally time to go for the tour.
The tour leave on a small train which brings us around the bodega grounds – the bodega actually covers a pretty large area in total. We get around and see the production process how they produce the sherries.
The main highlights of the tour is the visits to the big storage area with all the barrels sitting around the room waiting to be ready to be put on bottles and sold to the public. While visiting the storage area we get inside to see a movie with the old history of the bodega which were founded by a Spaniard and his British business partner – hence the combination of a Spanish and a British name.
We get to another area where they store more barrels – in here they have many barrels signed by famous people during the years. They do tell more about the production but I am more interested in seeing if I can spot a couple of celebrities names among the signatures – there are several I can recognize but the one I find the most interesting is probably the one signed by Milton Friedman – I hadn’t really expected to find a Nobel laurate in economics amongst the names on the barrels – but there it was. Ok there are royalties and prime ministers names as well but I still found this the most interesting signature.
After the tour we get to the real highlight. The tasting. I am looking forward to the four sherries – starting out with a dry fino the Tio Pepe which apparently is the sherry sold to most different countries around the globe. The sherries gradually become sweeter ending with the sweetest version. After finishing the tasting you have the option of stocking up at the large shop – the prices seems fairly reasonable but there is no space in our luggage to buy important souvenirs at this shop.