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The famous dessert wine was named after the town of Jerez de la Frontera (Jerez on the border) in the province of Cádiz in the Andalusia region between the two cities of Seville and Cádiz, deep in the south of Spain. It has been a centre of wine, liqueur and brandy production since the Middle Ages. In 711, Spain came under Arab rule, but wine continued to be produced despite the Islamic ban on alcohol. Caliph Alhaka II decided to uproot the vines in 966, but the locals successfully argued that some of the grapes were also processed into sultanas, which the Muslims fed on during their campaigns. As a result, only a third of the vines were destroyed. As early as the 12th century, Spanish winegrowers sent sherry to England and received English wool in return.

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