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Sherry is celebrated in UK on-trade at the annual Great Sherry Tasting

Published:  13 September, 2016

At yesterday's annual Great Sherry Tasting, the category seems to be making head way, particularly in the UK on-trade as sommeliers and Michelin starred chefs sampled nearly 200 Sherries being poured.

The annual tasting hosted 22 importers, representing nearly 30 producers and offered a number of masterclasses throughout the day. The packed schedule of events is part of much larger campaign strategy of education that remains a cornerstone to introducing Sherry to more trade customers and consumers in the UK, according to Beltrán Domecq, the president of the Consejo Regulador de las Denominaciones de Origen Jerez-Xérèz-Sherry ManZanilla Y Vinagre de Jerez.

"We have done a great job with chefs and sommeliers. We have found they have great love for Sherry.  You only have to go to many of the top Spanish restaurants across the UK and you can see that they have a specific area dedicated to Sherry.  Now we need to get the consumer involved which is the next step," said Domecq.

But according to Owen Morgan, co-founder of Bar 44, a Spanish Tapas chain, it is not just Spanish restaurants that are looking to give sherry a place on the drinks list. He said: "Sherry is doing amazingly well.  It is what we focus on, of course, but I am also seeing a lot of people outside Spanish cuisine and restaurants here today. The food and wine matching is just so, so important for Sherry."

Domecq and Patricia de la Puerta, the secretary general of the Federation de Bodegas del Marco de Jerez agree that food and wine pairings is a way forward for sherry. She said: "Our message is 'food and wine' because we think it is good way to reach consumers and bring people to the table. Not just have a Sherry as an aperitif, but it can be enjoyed similarly to a white wine at the table. We think it is a great way to reach the consumer."

Fiona Beckett hosted a Sherry and food matching masterclass which proved immensely popular.

Overall for Richard Witter, a brand manager at Gonzáles Byass the annual tasting was a success and it is a great opportunity for both producers and customers to come together and explore the category further. He said: "This tasting has quite a loyal following, but even for us as producers it is great to attend.  We get the opportunity to not just meet with our customers but it is also a great opportunity to see what other producers are doing as well. It is one of the best tastings of the year for that."