Bodegas Williams & Humbert
Bodegas Williams & Humbert is located in the geographical triangle formed by the cities of Jerez de la Frontera, El Puerto de Santa María and Sanlúcar de Barrameda. This triangle has a unique microclimate owing to the influences of the Guadalquivir and Guadalete rivers, giving rise to the term “the Mesopotamian valley of western Andalusia”. At present, Williams & Humbert is comprised of the central installations (Europe’s largest wine cellar), the vineyards and Sovisur, their distributing company in Spain. The family have handed down longstanding winemaking traditions and sales expertise in international markets from one generation to another. Two different generations currently work side by side with prestigious professionals, comprising a dynamic, energetic team with a great deal of business initiative while maintaining the traditions and knowledge acquired through a century and a half of experience in Jerez. Bodegas Williams & Humbert now sell their products in over 80 countries and they are developing an ambitious diversification project in the sector of high quality food products. The firm’s subsidiary company SOVISUR distributes their products – the Canasta and Dry Sack Sherries and the Gran Duque de Alba brandy amongst the most prominent – throughout Spain. The diversification has additionally led them to add products from other quality demarcations such as Ribera del Duero (Marqués de Polavieja red wines), Rioja (Viña Paul and Peñazola red wines), Rueda (Viña Saltés) and Albariño (Espírito da Terra). Their innovative projects also include Crema de Alba, the world’s only cream liqueur made from Solera Gran Reserva Jerez brandy and the rums Dos Maderas and Malabar, products that merge two cultures and which are made with a double ageing process. The history of Bodegas Williams & Humbert goes back nearly 130 years. They participated in the creation of the Jerez-Xérès-Brandy Quality Demarcation and are now considered to be one of the world’s most prestigious wine producers. The winery was founded in 1877 by Sir Alexander Williams, a great admirer and connoisseur of sherry products, and Arthur Humbert, a specialist in international relations. Since then they have preserved part of the original wines and brandies (soleras) in high quality oak casks. These soleras are the base of the development and ageing of every sherry and brandy produced at Bodegas Williams & Humbert. In the 1960s José, Nicolás, Jesús and Ángel, members of the Medina family who were working at different Jerez wineries, decided to steer their careers towards creating their own winery: José Medina y Compañía. Founded by José Medina, at first the firm enjoyed the external support of his brothers, who became full-time partners two years later. Initially the firm focused their energies on international markets and gradually expanded through collaboration agreements with different purchasing companies. In 1979 they established a partnership with the Dutch multinational Royal Ahold through the Associate Company Luis Páez. These association and subsequent collaboration agreements enabled the family to increase their presence in Jerez; a few years later they were amongst the leading companies in sherry sales at international level. From the firm’s foundation, characterized by canny, aggressive business strategies, they started to acquire different brands that strengthened and diversified their capacities. Their latest acquisition was the international group Williams & Humbert, which now lends its name to all the family’s business activities. The relationship between the Medina family and the Dutch multinational Ahold dates back to 1979, when Ahold acquired a 50% share in Luis Páez S.A. (now Bodegas Williams & Humbert S.A.), a winery owned by the Medina brothers. In 2005 the Medina family reached an agreement with Royal Ahold to acquire the 50% share that the Dutch firm held in the corporation. Having regained full ownership of the company and its subsidiaries, this acquisition permitted the Medina family to consolidate the management of the business they were already responsible for.
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Williams & Humbert