Raise a Glass to International Sherry Week 2018
International Sherry Week gets underway this year, a milestone event that not only marks the fifth consecutive year of this global event, but also the unfolding of more than 1,000 innovative and diverse events in 18 countries, all held in celebration of these unique Spanish wines.
Text: Adrienne Smith /@ICEX
I've said it before and I'll say it again: Spanish Sherry is a national treasure, a singular and versatile product that has a history and tradition in this country spanning millennia. Fortunately, I'm by no means the only one who feels this way and, if the annual celebration of International Sherry Week is anything to go by, this is an opinion shared by fans of these wines all over the globe.
Organized by the Regulatory Board of Designation of Origin Jerez-Xérès-Sherry and Manzanilla Sanlúcar de Barrameda, International Sherry Week is the biggest and undoubtedly the most exciting worldwide event held in celebration of the famous, fortified wines from southern Spain – produced exclusively in Jerez de la Frontera, El Puerto de Santa Maria and Sanlúcar de Barrameda. This time around, this multi-tiered event will be held from October 8-14th in a variety of outlets, including restaurants, bars and wines stores in eighteen countries on five continents.
Events across the globe
This year, the South American countries of Peru, Argentina and Brazil will all be hosting events, with at least thirty activities unfolding in the latter of these countries alone. Mexico, Cuba and Canada are also in on that side of the world, although the United States clearly dominates International Sherry Week on the western side of the Atlantic with a wide range of events on the calendar, happening from coast to coast. Germany is also making a strong showing in Europe this year, rivaled only by the hundreds of activities scheduled in England and, of course, in host-country Spain. As for Asia, Hong Kong, China and Taiwan are also participating, with the bulk of events in this part of the globe happening in Japan, a country whose love for these wines and proliferation of Sherry bars is practically legendary in gastronomic circles.
Regardless of where International Sherry Week is held, the core of this celebration remains the same, with a focus on workshops, pairings, tastings and other activities designed, not only to celebrate these wonderful Spanish wines, but also to educate consumers as to their quality, diversity and huge range of applications in terms of gastronomy – including both traditional and avant-garde cuisine from different countries and cultures – and even cocktails and other innovative uses for Spanish sherry. Along these lines, the finals of the 2018 US Sherry Cocktail Competition will be held in New York on the first day of this week-long celebration.
New for 2018
As an ongoing and evolving event, the organizers of International Sherry Week have added a variety of new things to look forward to in 2018. These include: additional events scheduled for “Manzanilla Monday” and “Flor Friday”; more guided tastings by Certified Sherry Educators; blind tastings in collaboration with the innovative new application “The Wine Game”; the first-ever “Great Sherry Tasting” in NYC, with more than 20 producers; a new Sherry Cocktail contest in Taiwan; a competition in China to find the most innovative recipes paired with Sherry; more “Sherry Trails” in the UK, including the Ibérica and Salt Yard Group in London; a week-long event at delicatessen Frische Paradies in Fürth, Germany, featuring a different type of cuisine with two Sherry pairings daily; and a closing party onOctober 14th at Michelin-starred Peter Gast’s new “speakeasy” Graphite, in Amsterdam, with nine Sherry brands present.
As far as inspiring participating establishments to be the best hosts they can be, the “Best ISW” event competition will be back again this year to award the most innovative and original event celebrated anywhere in the world for International Sherry Week. Sponsored by the Jerez Chamber of Commerce and the Confederation of Business of the Province of Cádiz, the prize is one-thousand euros worth of Sherry wines!
The only tools you’ll need
Professional and amateur fans of Spanish Sherry need only head to the website www.sherry.wine to find all the information available about any of the more than 1,000 events that are taking place across the globe in celebration of these wines. In addition to the excellent information detailing everything you need to know about the history of and production processes for Sherry wines, the site features a wonderful, interactive map of events all over the world, as well as three downloadable guides to food pairing with Sherry – one of them especially dedicated to Spanish tapas.
In the words of César Saldaña, the Managing director of the Regulatory Board of DO Jerez-Xérès-Sherry and Manzanilla Sanlúcar de Barrameda, “International Sherry Week is a worldwide celebration of Sherry wines and the best example of how our wines are an inspiration for people from all five continents. It is really thrilling to see how, year after year, sherry aficionados organize creative events with our wines as the key protagonist: tastings, food events, cocktail parties and all sorts of activities that illustrate the amazing versatility of Sherry. For the (Regulatory Board), ISW represents a unique opportunity to share our quality message on a global scope and in a fun, lively mood. We are delighted to see sherry lovers from so many countries and cultures being connected through their passion for our wines.”
So what are you waiting for? Let’s all raise a glass of and to Spanish Sherry!