Saturday, 3 October 2015

Some Interesting Anecdotes Related to Sherry

* The founder of González Byass, Manuel María González Ángel, was a sickly lad but determined to make the most of what the doctors thought would be a short life. One of his first business ventures in which he had invested all he had - and more - was a disaster: he sent a cargo of potatoes from Huelva to Cádiz, but the ship sank. His mother, María del Rosario Ángel, was nothing if not resourceful and she was not going to let the mere sinking of a ship stand in his way. She quickly took charge of the situation with a bucket of seawater and some potatoes to check if they would float. They did, so mother and son hired a little fishing boat and using its nets managed to recover three quarters of the lost potatoes from the bay of Cádiz.

Pedro's Penny Farthing preserved in the bodegas (foto:jerezsiempre)
* Manuel María’s son Pedro was a great sportsman and imported a penny farthing velocipede from Birmingham, which can still be seen in the bodegas. One day one of his friends, Pedro Manjón, received a letter from him saying “Please forgive me, a few days ago I saw you in the street and I didn’t stop to chat. It was because when I get off the velocipede I am quite unable to get up again, and I hate making a fool of myself.”

* Julián Pemartín was a highly successful bodeguero, but an even greater spendthrift. He spent a fortune building the palatial house “Las Cadenas” which is now home to the Real Escuela del Arte Ecuestre. The balls and receptions held there were of legendary extravagance and guests included all the nobility, even the king. On one occasion Pemartín asked the King, Alfonso XII, if there was anything his majesty found wanting. The King replied that there was all a King could desire. Pemartín replied “Your majesty is mistaken, one thing is missing: a rope to hang myself with, for I am a ruined man.” In 1878 he went spectacularly bust and Sandeman, his main creditor, took over the firm.
Recdreo Las Cadenas (

* Manzanilla is a word with more than one meaning. Outside Cádiz it can be camomile and it is also a variety of Olive. There is a story about a leading Sherry shipper who sent a small barrel of Manzanilla olives in brine as a present to one of his better customers. The customer seemed to misunderstand the gift, however, and complained that the wine tasted strongly of salt and was full of floating foreign bodies.

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