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by Fred McMillin
When Harveys Went Kablooey
Nov. 24, 1940—The original headquarters of the firm that produces the world's most significant sherry, Harveys Bristol Cream, is destroyed by German bombs. Let's see what happened before and after the bombs fell.
Bristol Cream Milestones
c.1OOO B.C. Phoenicians found the town of Xera, known today as Jerez (hair-eth), south of Seville in Spain.
409 A.D.—Romans withdraw from Jerez, which earlier was a Greek settlement.
1264 A.D.—The Muslim Moors are driven from Jerez by the Christians, and winemaking is re-established, In fact, the full name of the town had become Jerez de la Frontera, since it was located on the frontier between the warring Moors and Christians.
Meanwhile, the former Roman trading port of Bristol had started importing wine to England.
1643— Sherry has been introduced to England, and the town's blenders develop a popular style known as Bristol Milk.
1815—Capt. Thomas Harvey regularly brings cargoes of sherry from Jerez to Bristol. Soon, his son John marries into the family of a Bristol sherry merchant whose company later will become John Harvey and Sons.
1882—The scene is the original Bristol building that later would be destroyed by German bombs. Edward Harvey is now in charge and serves the aristocratic wife of a Bordeaux merchant two sherries (see painting). One is the famous Bristol Milk and one is a special house blend. She remarks, "If that it Bristol Milk, then this [blend] must be the CREAM." Edward knew a good name when he heard it!
1971—Uncle Sam becomes a fan. Bristol Cream sales in the U.S.A. have tripled in 10 years. I liked it so well that I served it in my wine classes the next year, 1972, in TEHRAN! (see label from those lessons) In fact, it's been in my classes for over 30 years; I consider it the most important dessert sherry of the 20th century.
Wine of the Day
Harveys Bristol Cream
What was the vessel Mayflower doing before it was carrying Pilgrims from England to Plymouth? It was carrying sherry from Spain to England!
This page created August 2000