To the north lies the majestic Guadalquivir River and on the other side of the estuary lies the extraordinary Coto Doñana nature reserve. To the south the vineyards blend in with the salt flats and pine woods. Further inland the gently undulating hillside becomes more and more pronounced, announcing the proximity of the beautiful Cádiz Sierra mountains.
To the west lies the Ocean. The Atlantic makes its presence felt throughout the whole region from Sanlucar down to Chiclana, its sea-breezes alleviating the long hot summer days. A coastline of extensive white sand beaches is presided over by the city of Cádiz, founded over a thousand years ago, overseeing the region from the other side of the bay as if from within the sea itself
“...it is a privileged location where the purest essence of what is known as 'Lower Andalucia' is found”
A mild climate and abundant natural resources have encouraged people to settle in the region since ancient times. Nowadays there are a number of major towns in the area, some but a few kilometres from each other. Nine of these have vineyards belonging to the Denomination of Origin within their municipal boundaries: Jerez de la Frontera, El Puerto de Santa María, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Chiclana de la Frontera, Chipiona, Puerto Real, Rota, Trebujena and Lebrija, the latter in fact belonging to the province of Seville.
Jerez de la Frontera is the largest city in the area and capital of the wine region to which it lends its name. Located upon one of many hills which dominate a wide open landscape of albariza soil, mid-way between the nearby mountains of the sierra and the shining white towns and villages of the coast, Jerez is forceful and dynamic, a place where sherry wines share the stage with other age-old symbols of the city, such as flamenco and horse breeding. A modern city of around 200,000 inhabitants but one which is well aware and proud of its past heritage in which the wine-growing industry has had an essential role to play, helping to mould both the cultural and architectural characteristics of the city itself.
Where the River Guadalete flows out into the Bay of Cádiz, just a few kilometres from Jerez, stands the historic town of El Puerto de Santa María, part wine producer and part fishing port, these days a first class tourist resort thanks to the exceptional quality of its beaches and its privileged location right in the heart of the Bay.
Further to the north, standing opposite the impressive Coto Doñana reserve at the mouth of the most symbolic river in all Andalucia, the Guadalquivir, we find the remaining vertex of the mythical Sherry Triangle: Sanlúcar de Barrameda. City of noble lineage and origin of Manzanilla, a wine of special characteristics fruit of this proximity to the sea and which reaches the summit of excellence when accompanied by the wonderful local dishes.
Further up the River Guadalquivir and not far from Sanlúcar we come to the riverside town of Trebujena, land of wine-growers from the remotest of times and where every year they celebrate the arrival of the year's must, the lifeblood of this industrious town.
Those vineyards situated in the north of the region fall within the municipal boundaries of Lebrija, and though belonging to the province of Seville they share the ancient wine-growing traditions of their neighbouring townships.
In the extreme west of the province of Cádiz lies Chipiona - Turris Scipiona in Roman times - with its characteristic lighthouse which still serves today as a landmark for seafarers and home to one of the most symbolic grape varieties of the Region: Moscatel.
A little further south, bordering the Bay of Cádiz to the north, is beautiful Rota, a fishing vilage par excellence but also renowned for its vegetables and vines since time immemorial.
To the south of the Bay, near to the ancient settlements of Sancti Petri, the municipal boundaries of Chiclana de la Frontera contain the most southern vineyards in the whole Region, now overlooking the beaches and hotel complexes which have made the town one of the most popular tourist resorts in Spain.
Finally, very close to Chiclana and within the Bay of Cádiz itself, stands Puerto Real, a town which is also dotted with vineyards whose proximity to the sea endows them with a distinctive character of their own.