Tuesday, 24 March 2015

24.3.15 Manuel María González Gordon’s Memoirs to be Published

The González Byass Foundation is to publish the memoirs of Manuel María González Gordon tomorrow under the title “Lo que diga Mimi…” (Whatever Mimi says…).  There will be a presentation by Beltrán Domecq and various family members as well as Antonio Flores at the firm’s bodega, Los Gigantes at 8.00pm.  A collection of hundreds of thousands of letters in brown ink becomes a treasure when it relates the story of a life, and it is hoped that this work will be the first of many on members of the firm or related matters.

The great man: Manuel Maria (foto: Gente y Habitantes de Jerez)

Manuel María González Gordon, Marqués de Bonanza, KBE (1886-1980) was the grandson of the founder, Manuel María González Ángel, and like him he wanted to dedicate his life to Sherry. He studied engineering in Germany as he understood that the future was mechanisation. He worked on the railway which runs the length of Chile and worked in London before returning to his beloved bodega. He played an important role in the “British Sherry” case, was active in the creation of the Consejo Regulador and many other things, such as the Jerez water supply and saving the Coto Doñana. Not only that but he wrote the classic book “Sherry” (known as the “Sherry Bible”).

He was a man who had time for everyone and everything. He had a long conversation with William Fifield (author of “Sherry Royalty”) and would visit employees who were ill. He had a wealth of anecdotes which he referred to as his “discos” (records) as he never tired of relating them. He knew all the latest dances, and the Queen, Victoria Eugenia loved to dance with him. His world had no frontiers.

Antonio Flores with members of the family (foto:Diario Jerez)

The book is illustrated with many pictures from the Foundation Archive, but since many of Manuel María’s adventures were not photographed, drawings were commissioned from the Madrid authoress, Ximena Maier. The bodega’s Capataz, Antonio Flores, said that the presentation will look at the professional and human sides to his life. “I knew him when I was a child, and I was 25 when he passed away. My father, Miguel Flores, worked at the bodega from the age of 14 and had a house there, so I was born in the bodega and have always worked here. I have always been made to feel like a member of the family. Manuel María was never distant, a delightful man who could talk with anyone. He always considered others and would try never to upset people, he was very diplomatic”. In fact he was nicknamed “Vaselina” for that reason.

The invitation (foto: tubal.blogspot)

A very well brought-up and educated man, he loved women and knew many. He would talk about the 32 who said “no” and the one who said “yes”. She was “Mimi”, Emilia Díez Gutiérrez, his beloved wife. The title of the book is taken from a sentence in his “discos”: “Whatever Mimi says..”. Manuel’s eyesight was not good so he compensated by working hard to develop his senses of smell, hearing and taste, not to mention studying. He wanted to get the most out of life, and spoke various languages, though sometimes, at meetings, he would employ the tactic of using an interpreter to give him more time to think of an answer. He did this, for example at the “British Sherry” hearing.

The presentation tomorrow is a fantastic excuse to talk about a man who was brilliant in every sense, and although there are few younger people who can remember him, he is still fondly remembered by the oldergeneration. He was an adventurer who revelled in life, with a frenetic youth and a pace which lasted throughout his life. He wouldn’t have thought twice about jumping onto Concorde, flying to New York, having a glass of Tio Pepe and flying back again, but it was just as well that Mimi kept him under some sort of control. He was from a family unified by Sherry, the wine which unifies Jerez, a city which is also plays a part in the memoirs in this book.

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