The origins of this winery date back to 1730, and it has been closely linked with the Domecq name since its earliest days. Despite its French origins, the family name will always be rooted in this land, and to the history of its wines and brandies. Possibly the most important person in the history of this family is Pedro Domecq Loustau, whose name will always be remembered as the creator of Fundador, the first Spanish brandy.
The winery buildings are the oldest in Jerez and among the most striking. It is built in an architectural style traditional to wineries that's perfectly integrated and reflects the importance of the wine industry to the surrounding area.
Of particular note are the Puerta de Rota with its medieval Arab walls…
…and the striking gardens of the Puerta de Rota, designed in 1823.
The winery buildings El Castillo (shown in the picture), El Molino, La Tribuna, La Luz, and La Mezquita are of particular interest.
The El Molino winery is the oldest and most unique in Jerez. It is home to the oldest aging systems and, interestingly, features the signatures of people such as Alexander Fleming, Gregorio Marañón, Charlton Heston, Lola Flores, and Jacinto Benavente.
El Molino, a former 17th-century mill, dates back to 1730. It is now a place of historical note because of its centuries-old walls, ancient aging systems, and relics that are considered to the jewels in the crown of wine-making, such as the first Fundador cask, signed by King Alfonso XIII.
The El Molino winery leads to the Patio del Sagrado Corazón...
...which in turn leads to the gardens of the Puerta de Rota at one end.
At the other end is a small fountain containing a bust of Pedro Domecq Loustau.
Crossing the patio, you come to the La Tribuna winery.
The traditional aging system for sherry—the "solera" aging system—can be seen at work here. Wine ready for consumption is taken from the solera (bottom row). The casks are refilled with wine from the top row and the casks on the top row with new wine.
The La Tribuna winery leads to the Patio de la Luz.
This in turn leads on to the La Luz winery, so-named because it was the first to have electric lighting ("luz") in the late 19th century. It was here that Fundador, the first Spanish brandy, was created.
It now houses a permanent exhibition with displays describing the creation processes of wine and brandy.
This majestic winery, La Mezquita, is one of the largest in the world. Opened in 1974 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Fundador brand, it was known as "La Gran Bodega" (The Great Winery) since the intention was to use it to store the aging equipment of the first Spanish brandy.
When the building work was complete, its appearance and impressive size made it inevitable that it would be called "La Mezquita" (The Mosque).
It is a huge space that houses over 40,000 casks made from American oak.
This courtyard, perhaps one of the most beautiful corners of the winery, was the cloister of the Convent of the Holy Spirit, the oldest convent in Jerez, dating from the 14th century.
360º Image: Sinue Serra (www.sinueserra.com)
Acknowledgements: María Eugenia Herrera García of Fundador Winery; Rafael Ansón, president of the Spanish Royal Academy of Gastronomy; Elena Rodríguez, director of the Spanish Royal Academy of Gastronomy; María García and Caroline Verhille, contributors to the Spanish Royal Academy of Gastronomy.
Spanish Royal Academy of Gastronomy
This exhibition is part of the Spanish Gastronomy project jointly coordinated by Google Arts & Culture and the Spanish Royal Academy of Gastronomy.