González Byass

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

González Byass, the largest producer of sherry, still run by the family that founded the house. In 1835, 23-year-old Manuel María González Angel set up business as a shipper in jerez in southern Spain. Within months he had joined forces with D. Juan Dubosc to make their first large shipment to London: 48 hogsheads and a quarter cask, sent to Robert Blake Byass, who was to become their UK agent. In 1844, the company purchased its first vineyards, and in 1846 the first wines were bottled in Jerez. The fino brand Tio Pepe was born by the mid-1800s, named after Manuel’s uncle José Angel y Vargas (tío being Spanish for uncle), who helped his nephew establish the solera. In 1855, Robert Blake Byass became a shareholder in the business, but it was not until 1870, when his sons and the sons of the founder entered the firm that it became González Byass & Co. The company remained in the hands of the two families until, in 1988, the González family financed the purchase of the 45% of shares held by the Byass family, later placing most of these with IDV, the British drinks subsidiary of the conglomerate Grand Metropolitan. The family bought the shares back from IDV in 1997, also the year in which Mauricio González Gordon, from the fourth generation of the family to work in the company, retired as chairman. His successors were Chon Gómez-Monche, another fourth-generation family member in the company and, from 2001, family friend Carlos Espinosa de los Monteros. In 2006, Mauricio González Gordon, fifth generation, became chairman.