Fernando de Castilla

Posted by Joe Salamone

Fernando de Castilla was originally founded by Fernando Andrada-Vanderwilde, an aristocrat from a family of land owners who grew grapes and produced base wines for the sherry trade for generations.

After a brief stint at the Gonzalez Byass bodega, Andrada-Vanderwilde purchased his bodega in the late 1960s from the large bodega Domecq. From the start, the emphasis at Fernando de Castilla was on the high-end domestic market - a unique business model that very soon put these sherries among the favorites of the Spanish elite.

In the 90s, however, Fernando de Castilla went into a period of decline until it was acquired in 2000 by Jan Pettersen, a Norwegian who'd spent over 15 years in the region working for the large Osborne house.

Pettersen strongly believed in sherry, in its singularity and nobility. He also believed that the market's future was at the high end. At Osborne, Peterson had exercised his love of sherry by tapping into the company's impressive stocks and creating the Rare Sherry Collection... yet he was frustrated with Osborne's focus on other ventures.

Fernando de Castilla, an early "boutique" bodega, was a perfect fit for Pettersen. Upon taking over, Pettersen moved to expand the bodega and its emphasis on high-quality production, also forming a partnership with a grape grower who supplies them with the majority of their grapes (most small bodegas rely on co-ops for grapes).

Perhaps one of the strongest testaments to the reinvigorated quality of Fernando de Castilla is that they've become an important source for the prestigious Equipos Navazos' La Bota Sherries.