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The vineyards in Jerez are unique to the area. The soil in Jerez is majority Albariza, a white soil which contains up to 60% chalk and therefore has a large capacity for maintaining moisture, very important given the long, hot and dry summers as irrigation is prohibited. The area has a unique microclimate influenced by the surrounding Atlantic ocean and rivers Guadalquivir and Guadalete. The prevailing winds are moist and warm, and now and again dry and hot levante winds from north Africa. Temperatures are warm with 70% humidity and annual rainfall is 600 litres/m2. The harvest in Jerez begins mid August and generally lasts for 3 weeks maximum. The Pedro Ximenez grape, although a white grape, is treated slightly differently as it is destined for sweet wines. The grapes are collected from the vine slightly later and they are then sun dried in a process called ‘soleo’ when the grapes bunches are laid out on esparto mats in the vineyard for up to two weeks. During this time the grape loses about 40% of its volume due to evaporation of water which causes concentration of sugars.