Wednesday, 6 August 2014

The Power of the Sherry Women

The great New York fashion designer Kenneth Cole maintains that it is better to be noticed for what you wear in your soul than what you wear on your body. Only this way can one of his latest creations be understood: the New York Women’s Sherry Dress, cut stylishly with touches of urban sophistication with a weave reminiscent of fresh greenery and joy.

Kenneth Cole's Sherry Dress (
The historic link between women and wine is forged by adventurers who worked hard and anonymously, by women who inherited bodegas and had the tenacity and capability to survive in a masculine and hostile territory. Jerez is full of examples from the past like la niña de la bomba, la reina del vinagre, Pilar Aranda or more recently Pilar Pla.

The journalist Juan Pedro Simo and the researcher Jose Luis Jimenez have analysed the sudden appearance of women managers, executives, oenologists, journalists, PR officers, venenciadoras and vine growers showing the social advancement of wine. Fatima Ruiz-Lassaletta, Paz Ivison, Victoria Gonzalez Gordon, Montse Molina, Maribel Estevez, Reyes Gomez are the magnificent pearls of infinite examples who reaffirm the pairing of women and wine.

In fact, this symbolic relationship began more than a century ago, according to the studies of  the historian Ana Maria Gomez Diaz in her well researched “La Manzanilla: Historia y Cultura de las Bodegas de Sanlucar”, which shows increasing feminisation since the XIX century. The aesthetic representation of wine is associated with the qualities traditionally associated with women such as paleness, delicacy, finesse and elegance. These attributes and their figurative representation can be seen in the brands. In 1927 in Sanlucar there were seventy brands, and half of them had feminine names, for example Manzanilla muy fina Pastora Imperio.

Wine is a sharing world which transcends its mere business and organoleptic aspects. In Spain we have needed to acclaim wine from multiple intellectual perspectives: musical, poetic, cultural. The culture and the soul of wine are civilising processes which make it great and which in the end produce sales, consumption and development of the industry.

In this context we remember an initiative born in Madrid which arose as a romantic necessity to evoke a love story: the Sherry Women. This desire to share inspired Sara Peñas to get together a group of women fiends linked to Sherry in the capital. Lovers of Sherry, these women see themselves as a round table with an absolute passion for discovering and enjoying soleras, and have become a lobby with the face of a woman. What began as a group of friends has grown to fifty women whose sole aim is to promote Sherry through a healthy, open, participative and modern network.

(@Sherry Women)
They could be surrounded by the sophisticated glamour of a wine shop in the Salamanca area of Madrid, or be at a journalist’s keyboard writing about the spirit of the Finos, or making the conscientious efforts of an oenologist, or be with the most charming “foodie”. We just need a Sherry Woman with her influence, conviction and passion to take on Manhattan, to spread the love of Sherry and fill Fifth Avenue with Amontillados. Not since Shakespeare mentioned Sherry in his works    giving it a place in international wine culture, has there been such an interesting and original idea, born of love, which could give Sherry a future and poetry, as that of these Sherry ambassadresses.

From an article in Diario Jerez by Jose Berasaluce Linares

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