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The famous Spanish dessert wine was named after the city of Jerez de la Frontera (Jerez on the Border) in the province of Cádiz (Andalusia), which lies deep in the south and 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 Alhaken II decided to grub up 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. Therefore, 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. It was at this time that the wine got its name, derived from the Arabic name of the town "Sherish" or "Xeris". It was considered one of the best wines in the world at that time. The conquest by the Castilian king Alfonso X (1221-1284) in 1264 brought Jerez back under Christian rule. The Christians allegedly even gave their horses to drink from the wine before a battle in order to get them revved up. In 1483, the city fathers of Jerez passed the first legal regulation for the production of sherry, which included detailed instructions for harvesting, the condition of the leather wineskins, ageing and trade practices.

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