A blog and review on all things Sherry. It is about tasting, enjoyment and learning more about the World’s Finest Wine. "Sherry is a thoroughbred" as Javier Hidalgo rightly puts it. Included are the amazing local Brandies and the remarkably good table wines also produced in the province of Cádiz.
Day coincides this year with the 40th anniversary of Pilar Pla inheriting the almacenista
bodega Maestro Sierra
after her husband’s death. In those days it was most unusual for a woman
to run a bodega, though there were some, but her mother told her there were only two paths she could
follow: either hide away and grieve or face up and fight. Luckily for us all she
chose the latter but in a very masculine world she was considered mad, then it
was assumed the bodega was a hobby she would soon tire of, but gradually her
persistence and hard work paid off and she earned the respect she very much deserved.
Doña Pilar and Carmen
It was very hard at first. Women were supposed
to bring up the children and look after the house and were not allowed access
to the various trade forums where business was transacted. Her female
neighbours supported her however, and brought her food at the bodega and they
discussed their problems. Even today, their children come by to say hello. She
was also supported by her daughter Carmen Borrego, whose salary as a professor
of history helped keep them going. In
fact the bodega is the only one run by women; the oenologist is Ana Cabestrero Ortega, and the quality of the wines is beyond doubt.
In the 1980s they supplied wine to Lustau for
their Almacenista range which was very useful business, but in the early 1990s
Lustau stopped buying the wine and so they decided to bottle it themselves,
buying a second hand bottling line in Rioja. Now in her nineties – though she
won’t give away her exact age – and a bit hard of hearing, Doña Pilar takes great
pleasure in the fact that times have changed. While there is still some
machismo, there are now many women working in the Sherry trade.