Leona Mergelina was born in Sanlúcar in 1822, daughter of a sea captain from Alicante, Joaquín de Mergelina and his wife Eduarda Gómez de Barreda y Gutiérrez de Henestrosa, from Sanlúcar. In 1845, Leona married Pedro Manjón y Fernández de Valdespino, originally from Asturias, and after spending some time in politics, he and Leona established a wine business. They bought no fewer than 4,000 butts and some fine vineyards: La Palmosa, half of Ėvora and the Rancho La Pastrana.
|A view of the bodega (foto:todocoleccion.net)|
In 1865 Pedro died, but Leona continued to live in the family home, also known as the Casa de las Moredas in Sanlúcar, with her younger children. She was a great entrepreneur and not only continued the family bodega, but built it up to some 6,000 butts, bought parcels of land and planted the vineyard El Rocío, which would later supply wine for her Manzanilla brand El Rocío. The (original) label for this was designed by the Jerez painter, González Ragel and depicts a scene from the famous annual pilgrimage to El Rocío. (see separate post on El Rocio)
the name Viuda (widow) Manjón as an exporter as well as an almacenista, the
firm’s wine was sold not only in Spain, but as far afield as Cuba, Argentina
and England. In 1871 Leona bought another bodega: El Solar, situated in the
same block as her home, and this purchase provided the name for another
Manzanilla brand. She also traded under the name Leona Mergelina. King Alfonso
XII visited the bodega in 1879, the only one he visited on that occasion, and
was offered a glass of the bodega’s best Manzanilla.
|Original El Rocio label (foto:+jerez)|
|Manzanilla Leona (foto:todocoleccion.net)|
|Bodega interior (foto:plusesmas.com)|
|Interior patio of the bodegas (foto:plusesmas.com)|
|Bodega La Arboledilla (foto:libreriaraimundo.com)|