Before its purchase by Andrew Tan, Fundador was owned by Beam Suntory who were slowly selling off assets like the Palacio Domecq (bought by an events company) and a sizeable chunk of Macharnudo vineyard (which went to Estévez). But things are changing. Buoyed up by the recent international successes of their Sherries and brandies, the firm is working on recuperating its former glory with new projects linked to wine tourism.
|Bodega la Mezquita|
The bodega, which was founded in 1730, is planning to commemorate its tercentenary, a landmark event which it wants to celebrate in advance with Jerezanos and visitors, for whom they will re-open the doors of the El Arroyo bodega complex and upgrade the offer in line with the times. There will be a tour through the history of some of the most emblematic bodegas of the area: El Molino, the first to be built, the enormous La Mezquita, built in 1974 to celebrate 100 years of Brandy Fundador, Los Claustros, which is kept for large celebrations, and more.
Another historic bodega, La Luz, where Fundador was born, has been converted into a museum with exhibits like photos of famous people, awards, old labels, old carriages and stable equipment for the Terry horses. Next to this, a recently constructed wine tourism centre with a shop will open during the Fiesta de la Vendimia. It is suitable for tastings of Sherry or the Bristol Cream cocktail with ice and a slice of orange, or the Fundador mojito, which the bodega offers to visitors.
|Castillo de Macharnudo|
Access for visitors is currently at the Puerta de Rota, but Fundador has begun works to facilitate access to a new oeno-gastronomic centre in the Calle San Ildefonso – a continuation of the Cuesta del Espíritu Santo – in the form of a tabanco or Sherry bar. They are also working on a similar development at the Castillo de Macharnudo which overlooks the El Majuelo vineyard. In fact, on Saturday there will be a gala here celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Ruta del Vino y del Brandy de Jerez, which will be an opportunity for the trade to see for themselves Fundador’s upgraded commitment to wine tourism.
While Brexit is viewed with both surprise and dismay in Jerez, all may not be lost. European Union funding for the promotion of agro-alimentary products from member states in third countries would be able to be used to at least partially compensate for the losses predicted in the UK market. At least once the UK has actually left, but there will be a couple of years of difficulty till then.
Consejo Director, César Saldaña, said “these funds would at least partly compensate for the negative effects of Brexit, especially when you take into account that the UK is the market in which we spend most, being the largest export market.” He pointed out that the value of Sterling has already fallen, making European products more expensive. To this could be added the expected impoverishment of the British people as taxes rise and levels of consumption fall. The first taxes to rise will inevitably be on alcohol and tobacco, but this will most seriously affect cheaper products, and Sherry is now selling at more up-market prices.