How Is Sherry Made?


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Real sherry only comes from the south-west of Spain but a version of sherry is now made in almost every wine producing country worldwide. There are thre main types of sherry – "fino", "oloroso" and "amontillado" and each is made differently. All start with a first fermentation and then have alcohol added to increase the percentage of alcohol obtained from the yeast converting natural fruit sugars to alcohol. Finos are then fortified with grape spirit to about 15 per cent alcohol and olorosos can go up to 18 per cent. Finos further evolve as a result of a yeast called flor. Barrels for fino are not completely filled allowing a blanket of flor to grow across the wine's surface. Flor does not grow on oloroso sherries because it cannot live with alcohol levels higher than 16 per cent. Amontillado is a progression from fino. If the fino is left for six years or more the flor will die out and then the sherry is exposed to air. This allows the wine to evolve into the amber coloured, nutty flavoured amontillado type sherry.

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