For me, and for most travellers, price is a major factor to consider when deciding to do an activity or not, and when I heard that the Bodegas Tradición winery tour was €18 per person, I was a bit stunned. Other bodegas charge €8-12 for the same thing, and Sandeman’s tour is only €7. So why the price jump?
Well, when we walked out of the tour after an hour and a half of sensory exploration, Craig burst out “oh my freaking goodness, that was great.” We both had huge smiles on our faces and the lingering flavour of brandy in our mouths. It had been a very good tour.
Since Bodegas Tradición is a relatively young, and very small-production winery, it doesn’t make sense for them to offer fixed hours for tours. Instead, you just call in advance to make a reservation — or ask your hotel concierge or someone in the tourist office to make the call for you. You’ll quite likely have a private tour, and if not there’s a limit of five or six people per group. The four guides who work at the winery speak five languages between them, so you can take your pick as to which language you want the tour to be in — Spanish, English, German, French or Italian.
We were met at the front door by Ulrike, who took us straight into the cellars to show us the barrels and explain the winemaking process. Although the winery is new (it opened in 1998) they use traditional processes to make their wines. We’d seen some of the old-school tools being used as decoration in other bodegas, and it was interesting to see them in use and learn what they were for.
After a few minutes in the cellar, Ulrike took us into the warehouse, where a worker was preparing boxes to put the bottles into. We saw the bottling and corking machines, and the delightfully unmodern pots of hot wax — a different colour for each type of sherry — which they use to cover the top of the bottle.
Next, we headed into the art gallery, a world-class collection of Spanish artwork from as far back as the 14th century. The paintings are arranged chronologically, which means you can see how styles changed over time. Apparently many visitors come just for the gallery; the wine is a kind of interesting extra.
Duration: 90 minutes
Hours: Monday to Friday 9am-3pm and 4.30pm-6.30pm, and on Saturdays in spring and autumn.
Address: Plaza Cordobeses, 3
More info: bodegastradicion.com
Our final stop was the “sanctuary”, decorated with tiles painted by Pablo Picasso, where we tried all of the products that Tradición produces — four sherries and two brandies. They were delicious, to say the least, but apart from that, Ulrike’s knowledgable explanation of the flavours and food pairings really added to the experience.
So, although it isn’t the cheapest winery tour available, it’s actually pretty good value for money. If you’re interested in wine or art (or better yet, wine AND art), Bodegas Tradición is an excellent choice for a Jerez wine tour — especially if you visit one of the larger wineries as well, for contrast.