Andalucia & Jerez
Jerez is located in Andalucia, southwest Spain. Sherry, which at the time a simple red wine, was started by the Phoenicians in around 1100 BC.
The capacity of the Sherry cask was set in the 1400s when to help Sherry stay stabilized during ocean voyages brandy was added to the wine. This is why Sherry is now a "fortified", or alcohol-added wine.
There are dry sherries that can be served chilled, and sweet sherries for room temperature. Sherry can be created as a dessert wine or a cheese wine, or anything in between. The two main types of sherry are the pale, dry fino/manzanilla and the dark, full, dry oloroso sherry.
Andalucia holds sherry vineyards in areas where the ground has a lot of albariza soil - porous, white limestone/sand/clay/chalk. This sherry uses the palomino, pedro ximenez, and muscatel grapes. The grapes are harvested around September 8th each year.
Sherry is unique in that it exposes the wine to air during ageing - usually something that is prevented. A layer of "Flor", or yeast, forms on top of the liquid and holds back the air.