The name Torres is very closely connected with Spanish wine, not only because of its very successful brands, but also because of its efforts to promote and maintain the diversity of the Iberian wine culture.
Royal visitors are rare for a vineyard. Over the course of its almost 150-year history, the Torres house can look back to three of such highlights. In 1904, King Alfonso XIII honoured the vineyard with a visit, in 1993 the Infanta Cristina came to call, and in 1995, Juan Carlos attended the vineyard’s 125th anniversary. That alone shows that Torres is not a vineyard like all the others, but it must have made a special contribution to its country. It is hardly surprising that Miguel A. Torres, born in 1941, is one of the most prominent personalities in Spanish winemaking, and was decorated multiple times as “winegrower of the year”, “most influential Spanish winemaker”, for his life’s work and with several medals. His father, Miguel Torres Carbó, had received the Cross of St. George, awarded by the government of Catalonia. He founded the Miguel Torres Foundation in 1986, which is managed by Miguel A. Torres’ German wife Waltraud, who is involved in many social projects.
The company’s history started in 1870, when Jaime and Miguel Torres Vendrell founded a wine cellar across from the railway station in the small Penedès village of Vilafranca. The railway offered the best transportation opportunity for the wines. Since Jaime did not have any children, Juan Torres Casals – son of Miguel Torres – became the sole proprietor of the vineyard. In 1907, he registered the Coronas Brand: until today an embodiment of the Torres wines and one of the best known Spanish wine brands. During the Spanish Civil War, the cellars were destroyed by bombs. When the cellars were rebuilt in 1940 Torres made an important decision: The wines were now bottled and no longer sold in barrels. The first bottled wine was called Coronas (1942). Five years later, another brand was added, Viña Sol, initially classified as “Vino de Mesa Superior”. In 1954, another classic enters the stage, Sangre de Toro, “bull’s blood”, a red reserve from the 1952 vintage.
Miguel Torres Carbó and his wife Margarita Riera Puig had three children, Juan Maria Torres, Miguel A. Torres and Marimar Torres. Miguel A. Torres is a visionary. Early on he cultivated vines such as Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. In his cellars he installed stainless steel tanks; his actions have and continue to significantly characterise the company’s philosophy even today. Since 1970 the cold fermented white wines “Viña del Sol” and “Viña Esmeralda” have been one distinguishing feature. They herald a new era in the Spanish white wine area. Viña Esmeralda is an aromatic composition from Gewürztraminer and Muskateller. When Torres started expanding to California early on, his sister, Marimar, decided to live abroad. Marimar Estate, Sonoma County, started operations at the beginning of the 1980s. Chile was also added when Miguel A. Torres bought a 100-hectare vineyard area in 1979 and set up a modern cellar with stainless steel tanks, which were a novelty for that country back then. In 1997, a new path was forged with the establishment of a joint venture with the Zhangjiakou Great Wall Winery. And let’s not forget, in their Spanish home country, the expansion outside of Catalonia started in 2004 with building a winery in Ribera del Duero and continued in Rioja in 2007.
The wines made by Torres have asserted themselves in blind tests against the competition, which shows their high quality impressively. Miguel A. Torres is a wine philosopher, who really looks hard to find the best vine for the best location. The most renowned “Single Vineyards” are Mas La Plana, Grans Muralles, Reserva Real, Perpetual, Fransola, Milmanda, Manso de Velasco (Chile), the Don Miguel and Doña Margarita Vineyards (California), and the Jean Leon winery which is managed by Mireia Torres-Maczassek, who combines this with running the Priorat winery. Overall, the family owns approximately 2,300 hectares of vineyards in Spain, Chile and California which are all treated with the same generation old philosophy: “The more we care for the earth, the better our wine.” “We live from the earth and we are a family-owned company, so this combination leads us to care for our land and resources – not just for this generation, but also for future generations”, says Miguel A. Torres.
In Spain, Bodegas Torres has a range of vineyards in the following Denominations of Origin: Penedès, Conca de Barberà, Priorat, Jumilla and Costers del Segre; as well as wineries in Ribera del Duero, La Rioja and Rueda. Internationally Torres also has vineyards and wineries in Chile /Valle Central and California /Russian River Valley (managed by Marimar Torres).
Today the fourth generation of the family – President Miguel A. Torres and Vice-Presidents Juan M. Torres and Marimar Torres – are overseeing the steady transition to the fifth generation – represented by Arnau Torres – Rosselló, Mireia Torres – Maczassek, Cristina Torres and Miguel Torres – Maczassek, who most recently has taken up the role of new General Manager of the company.