Sherry Wine News

Andalucía and Japan united by Sherry

Megumi Makino, the best official venenciadora 2016 has been visiting Jerez to demonstrate her mastery of the venencia, an art which is as unusual as it is ancient, and immerse herself in the wine culture which has captivated her native land.

The Japanese love of Iberian cultural roots goes deeper than flamenco dance and song. The wines of Jerez are stirring up passion in this Asiatic country where every year over 300 professionals aspire to be venenciadores.

Sherry continues to awaken a growing interest in Japan, one of the markets with the greatest potential for the Denominación de Origen. Two cultures apparently so different, the Japanese and the Andaluz, go hand in hand in these displays which embody in a deeper way our two identities. And it is no surprise that a nation with such a fascination for the genuine, the authentic, focussed on the winemaking of Jerez.

So much so that the greatest number of Sherry bars in the world are in Japan, where one establishment holds the Guinness record for the number of Sherries on its wine list. And it was in Japan where the greatest number of people used a venencia simultaneously, and where over 160 professionals have attained the coveted title of official Sherry venenciadores. 

Such is the case of Megumi Makino who won last year’s XVI Venenciador Competition. This week Megumi’s dreams came true and she is seeing at first hand the unique world of Sherry and demonstrating, here in Spain, that Japan is also skilled with the venencia – very skilled.
Sixteen years ago, given the interest generated by this art among Japanese barmen and sommeliers, the Consejo Regulador officially authorised this title with annual theoretical and practical examinations to certify skills. Now, a legion of over 160 Japanese professionals holds the title of “Official Sherry Venenciador”. 

The Japanese are known for their professionalism and competitiveness. It came as no surprise therefore, that in June 2015 Japanese venenciadores set a new world record for “the highest number of venenciadores pouring simultaneously”: 72 of them from all over Japan came together in Tokyo to break the previous record of 61, held by venenciadores from Andalucía. 

Beltrán Domecq, president of the Consejo Regulador, points out that

the standard of Japanese venenciadores is impressive. They show an interest and professionalism far beyond the norm. They have perfected the technique, and it is significant that in recent years the winners have been women 

He went on to say that “the great success of the last edition of the exam demonstrates the enormous interest the Japanese professionals have in Sherry and its culture. It is surprising to see that Sherry provides such fascination for people of such diverse cultures”.

The veneciador 

The venenciador is a professional specialising in the transfer of wine from the venencia to the tasting glass with dexterity, from a considerable height, having perfect mastery of the venencia, and using it as an extension of the arm. The art of the venencia with its flexibility and originality spread out from its origins in the bodegas decades ago to serve wines at ferias, celebrations and all sorts of event, becoming perhaps the most genuine form of promotion of Sherry wines throughout the world.

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Vinos de Jerez
Vinos de Jerez @
27 January 2017
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