Manuel Galván and his World… A Life dedicated to Barrel-Making

26 September 2016

Through his hands have passed hundreds of thousands of hogshead staves. First chestnut. After oak… His determined eyes, in the exact curve of the “rascado de juntos” and the perfect “herradero de cascos” look ahead, but while talking they get lost into the infinite

Shaking his hand is feeling the surprisingly soft touch of a tool polished by the time. Only powder of fluke´s dryer, overshadows the “smoothness of an elderly man” with a leathery skin over the years. And in his fingers roasted by the fire of the “astillero”, there are scars tuned by time. The English cap gives him purity of style, while the scent of burning oak, gives to its work place an old style soul of barrel-making of eternal Jerez.

At twelve o’clock sounds an “Angelus” of vino fino dripping on a shaky glass, with a sincere smile of those who feel part of something too important to not explain. Speaks about barrels sometimes bigger than a man standing up, shaked by hand in that almost open sky “batideros” of the old cooperage of an era in which working hours were marked by the rising and setting of Sun.

Only to learn a new word about the eternal science of Jerez barrel-making, worth every second lived in his company. Drinks the wine glass in two swallows without holding it by the shaft and comes back to work with the slow walk of a solemn parliamentary of late nineteenth century. He leaves happy to the “barrel” that had begun and finishes with care.

Roll the barrel on the stone pavement. There it stayed… He comes back to the flukes, eternal and sublime work that in Jerez de la Frontera is normatively regulated by de Municipal council records chapters since October 10th, 1513. More than five hundred years of exact science. Jerez Glory of a profession that continues in the children and grandchildren of Don Manuel Galvan Perez. God keeps him for many years.

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