Immediately after fermentation, the wine is sampled and the first classification is performed. The casks are marked withthe following symbols according to the potential of the wine:
a single stroke indicates a wine with the finest flavour and aroma, suitable for fino or amontillado. These wines arefortified to about 15% alcohol to allow the growth of flor.
a single stroke with a dot indicates a heavier, more full-bodied wine. These wines are fortified to about 17.5%alcohol to prevent the growth of flor, and the wines are aged oxidatively to produce oloroso.
a double stroke indicates a wine which will be allowed to develop further before determining whether to use the winefor amontillado or oloroso. These wines are fortified to about 15% alcohol.
a triple stroke indicates a wine that has developed poorly, and will bedistilled.The wine is filled into 600-liter American or Canadian oak casks, which are slightly more porous than French or Spanishoak. The casks, or butts, are filled five-sixths full, leaving "the space of two fists" empty at the top to allow flor todevelop on top of the wine.Sherry is then aged in thesolerasystem where new wine is put intowine barrels
at the beginning of a series of 3 to 9 barrels. Periodically, a portion of the wine ina barrel is moved into the next barrel down, using tools called the
(sprinkler) to move the wine gently and avoid damaging the layer of flor in each barrel. At the end of the series only a portion of the final barrel isbottled and sold. Depending on the type of wine, the portion moved may bebetween 5 and 30 percent of each barrel. This process is called "running thescales," because each barrel in the series is called a scale.So the age of the youngest wine going into the bottle is determined by the number of barrels in the series, and everybottle also contains some much older wine.
Christopher Columbus brought Sherry on his voyage to the NewWorld and as Magellan prepared to sail around the world in 1519, hespent more on Sherry than on weapons.As afortified wine, sherry is better equipped than most table wines to
survive the sea journey to theBritish Isles, and it was prized there.Because sherry was a major wine export to theUnited Kingdom,many English companies and styles developed. Many of the Jerezcellars were founded by British families.