Working in the Spanish Wine Trade

Learn about the different roles involved in the aging, or crianza, of Manzanilla sherry.

Ayuntamiento de Sanlúcar de Barrameda

Ayuntamiento de Sanlúcar de Barrameda

Arrumbador by Arturo RedondoAyuntamiento de Sanlúcar de Barrameda


Perhaps the most involved and complex of the traditional roles at the sherry bodega, the specialist wine-cellar worker known as the arrumbador performs some of the trickiest jobs. These include moving, placing, and storing the large barrels (called butts), and looking after the fortification and clarification of the wines.

They move and turn the butts that hold and nurture Manzanilla.

Tonelero by Arturo RedondoAyuntamiento de Sanlúcar de Barrameda


Using age-old wisdom, the tonelero (barrel maker) is responsible for turning wood into a cradle for the Manzanilla.

They work with wood, metal, and fire to make and repair butts, taking care over each small detail of the process.

Trasegador by Arturo RedondoAyuntamiento de Sanlúcar de Barrameda


Decanting is an important part of the process of producing Manzanilla and wines from Sanlúcar.

From one criadera, (a stack of barrels that are part of the aging process), onto the next, then onto another, wine passes through the bodegas of Sanlúcar thanks to the trasegadores (decanters). These ardent protectors of the very essence of Manzanilla are ever-vigilant as they go about their traditional, enigmatic work.

Capataz by Arturo RedondoAyuntamiento de Sanlúcar de Barrameda

Capataz de Bodega

A master of all the jobs at the bodega and likely to have grown up in the shadow of stacked wine barrels, the capataz de bodega, or cellar master, understands everything there is to know about the decanting, aging, color, and timing of wine. Just like the conductor of an orchestra, they look after the bodega's rhythms, balance and harmony.

Despacho de Vino by Arturo RedondoAyuntamiento de Sanlúcar de Barrameda

Despacho de Vino

The wine store (despacho de vino) is traditionally the bodega's storefront. It's a special place where Manzanilla passes into the hands of those who visit this threshold between the town and the bodega and leave with fine sherries such as manzanillas, olorosos, amontillados, and palocortados.

Vendimiadora by Arturo RedondoAyuntamiento de Sanlúcar de Barrameda


One of the most specialist roles in the world of wine and Manzanilla comes into play in September or August. The vines and fields offer up their fruit and the vendimiadores (grape pickers) can do their job and start the grapes on their journey from the albarizas (the white chalky soil of the region) to the tranquility of the bodega.

Viticultor by Arturo RedondoAyuntamiento de Sanlúcar de Barrameda


These growers, carers, people of the vine and of wine, are custodians of the arcane and possess a mysterious wisdom of how to care for the earth, grapes, and vines.

They range from chiquichancas (young apprentices), who make up the work crews of 9, 11, or 12 people according to their function and custom turned tradition, to the mayoto (proprietor of a small operation) who still works with and cares for their vines.

Espartero by Arturo RedondoAyuntamiento de Sanlúcar de Barrameda


Since time began, esparteros have been bringing together earth and sky, land and sea, tending the bonds that carpeted streets and corridors, scattering the soil of the bodegas with magical carpets ready to receive the golden and amber drips from the butts, making Manzanilla's journey even more special.

Carretero by Arturo RedondoAyuntamiento de Sanlúcar de Barrameda


Everything moves, everything flows, and on the back of a cart (mechanized these days), the rhythm of the wine flowed.

As countryside gave way to the city, grapes arrived at the bodega, and wine was moved as needed, so Manzanilla began its journey through the world, to the sound of horse bells back then, and nowadays to the whirr of a mechanical steed.

Carpintero by Arturo RedondoAyuntamiento de Sanlúcar de Barrameda


In the world of wine, roles involving working with wood are both varied and complex.

Carpentry involved looking after roofs and structures, keeping watch over the peaceful life of wines made glorious beneath century-old vines, and keeping the secrets of galleons and boats that arrived from the New World holding precious woods from Cuba, Brazil, and Mexico that would be used in the bodegas of Sanlúcar.

Albañil by Arturo RedondoAyuntamiento de Sanlúcar de Barrameda

Construction Workers

The Manzanilla bodegas, with their different features and characteristics, are like a unique, specialist jeweler of the wine created and developed only in Sanlúcar de Barrameda.

Construction workers from Sanlúcar have age-old knowledge that allows Manzanilla to rest in natural spaces, today as much as ever.

Bodeguero by Arturo RedondoAyuntamiento de Sanlúcar de Barrameda


A figure from another time, the bodeguero (bodega owner) is both a proprietor and a worker, always in charge and often working hard himself.

They know the jobs and their workers. They also protect the dream of Manzanilla while looking for worldwide markets. All the while, keeping an eye out for expansion opportunities for the bodega, as well as looking after their workers.

It's a traditional, artisanal role. With the challenges of the world today, the winemaker sleeps little, dreams a lot, and knows more than can ever be told.

Enólogo by Arturo RedondoAyuntamiento de Sanlúcar de Barrameda

Wine Producer

In the half-light of the bodega, the arcane wisdom of the enologist blends with cutting-edge modernity to continue to create a blissful marriage between tradition and modernity that is condensed and concentrated in the butts of Sanlúcar.

The ritual is nourished by a slightly mysterious wisdom built up over time and informed by the needs of current-day markets and lifestyles, without altering its essence, nature, or character.

Oficina by Arturo RedondoAyuntamiento de Sanlúcar de Barrameda


In order for Manzanilla and other wines from Sanlúcar to continue to flow from the city's bodegas, the constant work of many professionals whose travails keep the bodegas running smoothly day-to-day is vital.

Being competitive companies with trades and specialists from very different spheres working together, giving the best of themselves to the wines of Sanlúcar, with Manzanilla as the star attraction, continues to be the universal benchmark.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Google apps