One of the most highly respected elder statesmen of Sherry, Mauricio Gonzalez-Gordon y Diez, Marques of Bonanza, has died aged 89 in Jerez.
González-Gordon, who died on 27 September, had been a board member of family business González Byass since 1961.
As president of the firm from 1993 to 1999, he guided its transformation into a global brand amid the so-called golden years of Sherry. His son Mauricio is chairman of the company today.
After being born in Middlesex, England, in 1923, González-Gordon moved to Jerez aged three, where he later became known for his English gentlemanly manner and fine tweed tailoring.
He studied chemistry at Seville University and wine at Berkeley in California, before returning to González Byass. He spent 20 years as head of selections for most of the firm’s wine. In 1955, he created Spain’s first centre for vine and wine research, at González Byass.
‘Mauricio González Gordon was not just a highly respected bodeguero and an extraordinary human being, but for many years he also was a driving force behind the Consejo Regulador,’ said Cesar Saldana, director-general of the regulatory body for Sherry. ‘His knowledge, experience and common sense made a significant contribution to our Institution that will be very much missed.’
Outside of Sherry, he was president of the Red Cross in Jerez for 13 years, founded the Spanish Society for Ornithology and helped to create the Donana National Park.
Among a long list of awards, the King of Spain granted him the Medal of Naval Merit of the First Order, the Queen of Denmark made him a knight of Dannebrog and he was a member of the Gran Orden de Caballeros de Vino for his services to Spanish wine.
Decanter’s publishing director, Sarah Kemp, said, ‘he was the perfect gentlemen and will be sorely missed’.
Written by Sarah Jane Evans MW