Tio Pepe En Rama celebrates ten years

It's well known that the Sherry category is in decline. So how did one new product buck the trend?

Tio Pepe marketing, Madrid
Tio Pepe marketing, Madrid

Tio Pepe En Rama, the limited edition fino Sherry from González Byass, has just turned 10 and to celebrate, the Sherry will be available in Magnums.

“The wine is selected from 62 casks,” says Victoria González-Gordon, the company’s international marketing manager, explaining how Antonio Flores, the winemaker, goes through the wineries and marks each barrel by quality, and then chooses the top ones.

It was Flores who originally created the wine, she says. “Antonio was tasting with Martin, our sales director in the UK, and they were tasting Tio Pepe directly from the barrel and saying it’s a shame everyone can’t have this experience.” Then they looked at each other, and said, why not? “That was ten years ago. In that year, we were very cautious and did a limited edition and sold it through the Wine Society. The team did a small teaser campaign by mail.”

Tio Pepe En Rama sold out the same afternoon.

González-Gordon says there’s no question that the Sherry category overall is still in decline, but that “these special editions are really working. En Rama is in growth, although the base is really small. In that first year, I think we sold around 1,500 bottles and now it’s ten times the volume.”

A decade on, Tio Pepe En Rama is sold into 18 countries and is available by allocation. The 2019 edition will have a special label, based on a historic Sherry label taken from the González-Gordon archive.

The limited edition fino Sherry is bottled “raw”, meaning the wine is taken from the cask when the flor yeast is thick and bottled without clarification or stabilization. The blend is created from wines held in barrel in González Byass' Constancia and Rebolla bodegas.

“This is a very small cellar where you need to go down five or six steps,” says González-Gordon. “It*s the original cellar where Tio Pepe started.”

Felicity Carter

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