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.