Bodegas Barbadillo, founded in 1821, is the largest of the Sanlúcar bodegas, with a number of sites around the town, but the biggest, which includes the visitor centre, shop and museum, is in the upper town, next to Santiago Castle. We took the hour-long tour with another couple and an English speaking guide.
The bodega is impressively massive, and it was while we were being shown around that I began to appreciate the amount of work involved in monitoring and moving wines around it – and how many people it must have taken when everything was done manually, rather than by machines such as “the octopus” which we saw in action pumping sherry from one rank of barrels to another. This part of the bodega complex includes pretty gardens and beautifully decorated rooms, and is often used for events like weddings or corporate hospitality.
Rosario Pérez-Barbadillo, a 6th generation member of the family, not only set up our visit but also oversaw the tasting. As well as sherries, including flagship brand Solear manzanilla, we also tried Barbadillo’s young unfortified white wines, dry Castillo de Diego and semi-sweet Maestrante.
Afterwards we got to chat a bit more with Rosario. She shared some personal anecdotes and, as we talked, she pointed out two young girls who were playing in the courtyard, the 7th generation.
Guided tour and tasting Tues-Sat 11am (English) 12 noon, 1pm (Spanish)
Museum Tues-Sat 10am-3pm
Tel 956 385 500