Manzanilla Mania in Cadiz: A Trip to Bodegas Barbadillo

Manzanilla [man-zuhnee-yuh] :

1. [noun]: A pale, dry form of sherry that comes from the Andalucian port town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, province of Cadiz. 

Ex: “Dayumm, it’s hot as hell today! I need to cool down with a glass of manzanilla and some fried fish by the port.”

2. [verb]: To drink a shi* ton of manzanilla.

Ex: “I am going to manzanilla sooo hard at dinner tonight!”


Ok, maybe I got a little creative with definition number two. It might not have a verb form, but it’s so good that it should! Motion to contact Merriam-Webster…

Now, I’ve always been a sherry fan, but my love, appreciation, and admitted obsession flourished after visiting Bodegas Barbadillo in the Andalucian pueblo of Sanlúcar.

Only a 40 minute drive from the city of Cadiz, we took a minor detour along our Andalucian road trip to stop in the land of manzanilla. Or “manzanilla heaven”, if you will. Think I’m exaggerating? The pueblo has got tubes of manzanilla installed underground, connecting its bodegas to its bottling facilities and even to some bars across the city! Imagine: an underground metro system of flowing manzanilla tubes. If that’s not heaven, I don’t know what is.


So, what exactly is the difference between manzanilla and sherry?

Glad you asked! All manzanilla is sherry, but not all sherry is manzanilla. Sherry, or in Spanish “jerez”, is a type of fortified wine produced in the province of Cadiz, with a broad range of flavors. From super sweet dessert wines, to tart dry dinner wines, “jerez” can be produced in multiple spots around Cadiz, known as “The Sherry Triangle.” Manzanilla, specifically, is a dry form of sherry known for its distinct sea salt tones that can only be produced in Sanlúcar de Barremada. If it’s not from Sanlúcar, it can’t be called manzanilla! If you’re a manzanilla-maniac, or simply like really good wine… Bodegas Barbadillo is your spot.

After all, where else in the world has a manzanilla CATHEDRAL?


Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU heavenly Barbadillo gods!! We’re not worthy!! Not a believer? Once you enter, the thick smell of sherry alone is enough to make you bow down and pray to your higher manzanilla powers…

The History

Wayyy back in 1821, the Barbadillo family settled in Sanlucar de Barremada. Without wasting any time in their new home, they bottled their first manzanilla. In 1827, with six years of hardcore testing, trying, and lots of drunken family functions, the Barbadillo bunch launched their first manzanilla into the market for the public to enjoy: Divina Pastora. The rest…history.



Still a family owned winery through and through, the Barbadillo clan has maintained their manzanilla modesty, even after winning the award for “World’s Best Manzanilla” in 2015 by Wine Spectator, and “Best Bodega of the Year” by Guía Peñin! Katie, our lovely tour guide, told us that every day she meets a new member of the Barbadillo family waltzing through the scented halls of the bodega. The Barbadillos are still the ones testing and experimenting with new products, controlling the conditions of the barrels, and greeting their workers. “They’re everywhere!” -Katie.

However, this talented family of viticulturists isn’t just limited to manzanilla. In addition to more than a dozen varieties of sherry, the bodega has a whole range of reds and whites. Since 1975, Barbadillo has been producing Andalucia’s bestselling white wine, the Barbadelicious Castillo de San Diego!


My favorite part?

They’ve got a bottomless sherry barrel for retired bodega workers to come any time of the day, smell the barrels, say hi to their friends and enjoy a complimentary glass. Or 10.

Now, that’s what I call retirement benefits.


What’s yo’ sherry flava?


Bodegas Barbadillo

C/ Luis de Eguilaz, 11, 11540 Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Cádiz

Call: +34 956 38 55 00

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