In 1835 in Jerez, Spain, Manuel Maria Gonzalez, an ambitious 23 year old, set up the first manifestation of the company that was ultimately to become Gonzalez Byass. Young Manuel was mentored in this by his uncle, Jose Angel de la Pena, (affectionately known as Pepe), already a renowned authority on sherry and its production. It was natural therefore that in 1837 Manuel should give the first, tiny bodega (cellar) over to his uncle so that the older man could potter away at his passion to create a delicate sherry to his own, personal taste. (At the time dry, Fino sherries were enjoyed only by a very few locals in Jerez).
Later, Manuel sent a couple of barrels of his uncle's new, dry wine over to his London agent, one Robert Byass. The future company partner was sceptical: "We shall see what can be done with the very, very pale wine that you so highly recommend".
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