The fertile valleys of the Guadalquivir River were already populated 5000 years ago, by the Tartessos civilization -thought by the ancient Greeks to have been the first civilization in the West. Some scarce ruins and settlements of this mysterious people can be visited.
Since then, many different cultures and peoples from the Mediterranean have settled in the old city of Sheirsh; a true multicultural flavor that depicts perfectly Andalusian tolerant and welcoming spirit.
The history of wine in this region, known worldwide as Sherry, can guide our way to modern Jerez.
Grown as early as 1000 BC, it wasn’t until the skilled Romans arrived that it started to be of excellent quality and exported throughout the empire.
Several centuries later, when the city was under the Moorish rule, wine production was at a serious strike since the Quran -the sacred book of the new lords- banned it. On the other hand, they built a fortress -an Alcazar– with stunning gardens around that are a local’s favourite to relax and meet friends.
Thankfully, the people of Jerez managed to convince the caliph that raisins were a powerful meal for soldiers and so vines survived some centuries more.
After Jerez de la Frontera was finally taken back in the XIIIth century during the Spanish Reconquista, Sherry popularity never stopped to grow. All along the Middle Ages, it was such an important trading good that it was under the direct protection of the crown.
Sherry wine was a fashion in many European courts and the wealth of the area became legendary enough to draw British privateer’s attention. The barrels plundered were warmly welcome in London.
After this first brute encounter, some English business man saw the opportunity and got established in the area founding their first wineries. Industrilization would soon start in England and Jerez profited deeply from this relation -it was the first place in Spain to have electric light.
These are the oldest modern Spanish wineries. These family businesses have been running for more than 200 years and can be visited. Actually, they should be visited. Many offer guided tours through the centennial cellars and noble buildings from XVIIIth century.
Allow yourself a whole Sunday morning to visit at least a couple of wineries. Obviously there are going to be wine-tastings but don’t worry, they always come with some tapas or Spanish serrano ham.
Some are even in the town, some minutes walking from NH Avenida Jerez. Stay with us to enjoy a practical accomodation close to everything worth visiting in Jerez.
The old town of Jerez de la Frontera is quite large, full of Gothic and Baroque churches and noble palaces and houses. Money run into the city and you can feel it as you walk around.
Jerez is very famous for horse breeding. There are still wild horses in nearby natural parks and reserves of the appreciated Pure Spanish Horse. The Real Escuela Andaluza del Arte Ecuestre is the place where you will learn everything about this elegant black horse. Shows and international exhibits happen all along the year.
The Horse Fair in held in spring is the perfect time to visit the city. Unlike Seville April Fair, entrance at las casetas -elaborated and tents where locals meet to eat, sing and dance- is allowed for visitors.
Everything and everybody gets colorful and lively -more than usual- and you get connected to the good mood as soon get there. Delicious street food and wine can be found almost anywhere and anytime.