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Gonzalez Byass

In 1835, a young man named Manuel María González Ángel would go for long walks through the old town centre of Jerez, in the company of his uncle, José Angel y Vargas. Those was the days when one could still hear horses’ hooves making their way along the streets. Manuel María’s “Tío Pepe” – Uncle Joe – was his greatest supporter when he started out in the fascinating business of sherry, and it was around that time that José Angel –  Tío Pepe – began to personally select casks in an attempt to find the perfect wine. Many years later, Manuel María González Ángel christened this solera “Solera del Tío Pepe” – Uncle Joe’s Solera – an inscription that can still be read on one of the barrels in the criadera. Thus began the legend of the most famous fino sherry in the world. Shortly afterwards, encouraged by a continuous rise in exports, Manuel María started his career in the wine business by exporting a number of casks to the United Kingdom. As his company became more and more successful, “Don” Manuel María González, as he was now known, decided to go into partnership with his agent in England, Mr. Robert Blake Byass. In a letter to Byass in 1836, he mentioned that he was going to sell an exceptionally pale white wine he had made.  González Byass became known not only for this world-famous wine, but also for “Brandy de Jerez” such as Lepanto, which was first sold in the 1850s. In 1863, the old company was renamed González Byass. The Byass family retired from the business in 1988 and the winery has belonged to the direct descendants of Manuel María González ever since. Today it is still a family-run winery, currently in the hands of the fifth generation of the González family. A common feature of family members is their passion for the world of wine, their great love of nature, and their strong feelings about the environment. The founding father himself, Manuel María González Ángel, was the first industrialist in Spain to install electric lighting in his winery. Along with Haro, in La Rioja region, Jerez was the first Spanish city to get electricity, and also the first one to pipe clean running water into its business installations. González closely collaborated on the very first project for a Spanish railway, as well as on a large number of new industrial facilities that were previously unheard of in Spain. The González family are also known for their support of culture, art, science and sport. One of the children of Manuel María González Ángel, Pedro Nolasco González de Soto, Marquess of Torresoto, introduced the game of polo into Spain. He also founded the first pigeon shooting association and the first tennis association in Spain in 1903, when he set up a tennis court at the winery. His son Manuel María González Gordon, Marquess of Bonanza, was the author of the most important book every written on Sherry, “Jerez, Xerez, Scheris”. Almost 80 years after it was first published, it is still known worldwide as the Sherry “bible”. The González family’s passion for wine has led them not only to spread the culture of sherry all over the world, but also to turn into a true “family” of wineries that faithfully represents Spain’s winemaking diversity. Over 30 years ago, González Byass began to incorporate wineries from the iconic winemaking regions of Spain, such as Bodegas Beronia, in Ollauri, La Rioja -, Cavas Vilarnau, in Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, Barcelona -, Finca Constancia, in Otero, Toledo -, Finca Moncloa, in Arcos de la Frontera, Cadiz – and Viñas del Vero, in Barbastro, in the Somontano region.

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Gonzalez Byass

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