THE ARCHITECTUAL COMPLEX

The FUNDADOR bodegas, with their foundation in the year 1730 are the oldest in Jerez.

The group of buildings which make up the historicentradaal nucleus of the bodega has two main entrances. One of them, situated in the southern part, is located in the area called Puerta de Rota, so called because this is where you can find one of the gates of the Arab wall that surrounded the city during the Middle Ages and of which several sections are still well preserved. This entry features a beautiful garden designed in 1823 and which has almost one hundred different plants and trees, as many indigenous species as from other origins.

The north façade is located in San Ildefonso Street, in the mediaeval heart of Jerez. From this gateway to the bodega it is possible to view some of the monuments which are most representative of Jerez such as the Cathedral, the Convent of the Holy Spirit, the Church of San Mateo and the Baroque Tower of the Church of San Miguel.

The Bodegas have been perfectly integrated into the urban design of Jerez since the 18th century, becoming some of the best examples of what is locally known as “winemaking architecture”, –  large buildings that demonstrate the importance that the wine industry has always had on the city and its surroundings

HISTORIC BODEGAS

Amongst all the buildings that make up the totality of the bodegas, some of them form the actual heart of the historic complex:  San Pedro, El Castillo, El Molino, La Tribuna and La Luz. (St Peter, The Castle, The Mill, The Tribune and The Light).

The upper part of the historic centre communicates with the lower part via the Bodega del Castillo. This building, with its restored interior, still retains part of one of the original towers that protected the old mediaeval wall. There is a gravestone incorporated into it which gives an account of the happenings of the year 1264, when Alfonso X,  El Sabio, gave this ancient building to Beltrán Riquelme, the Christian Mayor of Jerez, to “provide rest to their stables” in recognition of the support they lent to the Christian troops in expelling the Mohammedans from the city.

This upper part of the bodega did not communicate with the lower part until 1904, when Pedro Domecq Núñez de Villavicencio took advantage of a touring visit made to the Bodega by King Alfonso XIII, to build a stairway that would connect to the rest of the Bodegas from the historic centre. Thereby, the itinerary for the visit was complete and it was officially inaugurated.

 

The foundation goes back to the year 1730; taking advantage of a building that housed an old 17th century mill which today is the Bodega most representative and which most reliably replicates the rich history of the company. Time seems to stand still, allowing visitors to step back into the history of Jerez wine and brandy. There are many anecdotes and curiosities hidden within these centuries-old walls.

Here lie ancestral screeds, wines and brandies that were the origin of the brands we all recognise today. These truly are relics, jewels of Oenology whose average ages are around a hundred years. Also to be found here is the very first Fundador cask, signed by King Alfonso XIII.

Also in this corner are casks which have been dedicated to many illustrious visitors who have passed through the Bodega. The kings Fernando VII, Victoria Eugenia, and  Umberto I of Italy, important personalities such as Alexander Fleming, Octavio Paz, Gregorio Marañón, Andrés Segovia, Jacinto Benavente and family friends none other than Plácido Domingo, Severiano Ballesteros, Antonio Machín, etc. All of whom had the opportunity to enjoy a glass of our most prized wines and brandies.

“EL MOLINO” AND “LA TRIBUNA” BODEGAS

The El Molino Bodega leads to the Sacred Heart Courtyard, an open space with stone columns and arches and flanked by lemon and orange trees, filled with colourful rose bushes and various flowers, full of the aromas of spring. At one end the patio overlooks the large garden of Puerta de Rota whilst at the other end, the access to the office buildings is located. In front of this entrance there is a small fountain with a bust dedicated to Pedro Domecq Loustau in its centre. Crossing the Sacred Heart Courtyard we enter La Tribuna Bodega, a building twin to the Bodega El Molino, but of later construction.

In times past this bodega provided wines for transportation and shipment. Then, exportation was carried out in casks and not bottles. These circumstances led to the La Tribuna bodega being renamed to the more familiar “Preparation Bodega.”

From the La Tribuna Bodega the wine then passes to the Patio de la Luz, small but no less pretty and picturesque.

 

The holandas distilled by Pedro Domecq with such care and patience, and which were the origin of Fundador, were stored for years in the Patio de la Luz, which was so called due to its being the first bodega to feature electric lighting, at the end of the 19th century.

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LOS CLAUSTROS

 

The most beautiful corner of the group of buildings from an architectural point of view. This partially covered patio was the cloister of the Convent of the Holy Spirit, the oldest remaining one in Jerez, dating back to the 14th century. To avoid its total deterioration, Domecq purchased it from the Dominicans at the end of the 19th century, and restored it back to its peculiar physiognomy, managing to save three quarters of its primitive structure.

BODEGA LA MEZQUITA

This colossal bodega, the largest of our vineyards and one of the largest in the world, is of modern construction. It was opened in the year 1974, purely to celebrate 100 years of the Fundador brand, the oldest of all the Spanish brandies.

The engineer who designed and oversaw the building works, Javier Soto Lopez-Doriga, never envisaged calling it La Mezquita, since his remit was to build a monumental bodega in order to store all the Fundador soleras. Its original name was “The Great Bodega”.

The inner aspect of the building, with hundreds of horseshoe arches, and its vast dimensions, made it inevitable that shortly after its commissioning, it started to be referred to by the name that it has today. The construction of the La Mezquita Bodega, which occupies a surface area of 25.350 m2, began on September 1, 1971, with works completed on October 10, 1974. The building is composed of seven warehouses, six of which have dimensions of 30 meters wide by 130 long and the seventh of 30 meters wide by 65 long. The gabled roof rests on columns, supporting each side of the horseshoe arches. At its highest point the arcades are double, formed of horseshoe arches with a half point overlap.

On one side of the inside of the warehouse, there is a viewing point from where you can observe the true majesty of the building and the impressive perspectives illustrated by casks, columns and arches.

 

This bodega can actually store 30,000 casks of wine.

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