It was in 1835 when the young Manuel María González Ángel founded González Byass and started a long, and passion-filled journey, dedicated to the world of wine.
Manuel Mª found the support he needed, to get this fascinating business dedicated to Sherry wine started, in his uncle, José Ángel, Tío Pepe (Uncle Joe). It was he who showed his nephew everything he knew about Fino wines, so much so that his name was given to the winery’s foundational solera, where today you can still read the name, “Solera del Tío Pepe”. This was how the legend of Spain’s, and possibly the world’s most famous Fino Sherry, started to be forged.
Portrait of Manuel María González Ángel, the founder of González Byass
Inspired by the continual development in export and the growing success of his company, Manuel María González decided to join forces with Robert Blake Byass, his English agent, to whom he wrote a letter in 1844, recommending that Byass sell an “exceptionally pale…” wine. These were the very first barrels of Tío Pepe that were sent to the United Kingdom where they were very well received.
The commercial Alliance between the Byass and González families continued until 1988 when the Byass family withdrew from the business and the winery passed into the hands of the direct descendants of Manuel María González.
The González family with members of the Gilbey and Blyth family in 1883, in the Real Bodega de La Concha wine cellar.
Today, it continues to be a family winery, presided over by the 5th generation of the González family who have always shown their passion for the world of wine, their love of nature and their care for the environment.
The entrepreneurial character of Manuel María González Ángel translated into the installation of electric light, two years before the city of Jerez itself received it. (In fact Jerez, together with the town of Haro in La Rioja, was the first Spanish city to have electric light). In addition, he brought clean, running water to the winery at around the same time and worked intensively on the third railway line to be built in Spain, along with numerous other new industrial installations that, up until that point, had been unknown in the country.
Manuel María González Gordon, Marquess of Bonanza
The González family has always stood out for its support of culture, the Arts, science and sport. It was not in vain that one of the founder’s sons, Pedro Nolasco González de Soto, the Marquis of Torresoto, introduced Polo to Spain and founded the first Shooting Club and the very first Tennis Association in Spain, in 1903 – building a tennis court within the winery walls.
Another of his sons, Manuel María González Gordon, the Marquis of Bonanza, wrote the most important book that has ever been written on Sherry wine. His work, entitled “Jerez, Xerez, Sherish”, is still considered globally to be the Sherry Bible – 80 years after its first publication.
Throughout history, members of the González family have belonged to some of the most important and prestigious foundations such as that of the Doñana, the Guttman Institute, charitable organisations such as the “Fight against Cancer”, the Proyecto Hombre (Man Project) and the Spanish Red Cross. They have also assumed the responsibilities of the honorary Consulates of Italy, Denmark and Sweden, which are historical titles.
Similarly the González family has always promoted and supported the Historical Heritage of the city of Jerez de la Frontera, collaborating with a plethora of restoration work on monuments around the city, both at a civil and ecclesiastical level. One example of which is the González Byass Foundation, which preserves the company’s commercial and trading heritage in its Historical Archive, whilst also encouraging investigation and promoting the Culture of wine.
The González family’s passion for wine does not just limit itself to the wines of Jerez, but stretches across the world, having transformed itself into a Family of Wine, which faithfully represents the viticultural diversity of Spain. In keeping with this ethos, more than 30 years ago González Byass began to incorporate other wineries into its family from some of Spain’s most emblematic regions. Amongst them are Bodegas Beronia -D.O.Ca. Rioja-, Viñas del Vero -D.O. Somontano-, Cavas Vilarnau -D.O. Cava-, Finca Constancia -V.T. Castilla-, Finca Moncloa -V.T. Cádiz-, Beronia Verdejo -D.O. Rueda- and Pazos de Lusco -D.O. Rías Baixas. In 2016, the company leapt out of Spain into the New World, bringing the Chilean, family winery Veramonte into the fold.