India's First Wine, Food and Hospitality Website, INDIAN WINE ACADEMY, Specialists in Food & Wine Programmes. Food Importers in Ten Cities Across India. Publishers of delWine, India’s First Wine.
Skip Navigation Links
About Us
Indian Market
Wine & Health
Wine Events
Retail News
Contact Us
Skip Navigation Links
Wine Tourism
Book Review
Photo Gallery
Readers' Comments
Video Wall
Media Partners
Ask Wineguyindia
Wine & Food
Wine Guru
Gerry Dawes
Harvest Reports
Mumbai Reports
Advertise With Us
US Report on Indian Market Released
Top Ten Importers List 2015-16
On Facebook
On Twitter
Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Friday, 18 June 2010 12:10

Star Interview: Torres Girl-Mireia

When you meet her in the offices of the new 3-storied modern building near Villafranca, you can hardly spot her among other colleagues in the laboratory, punching numbers in the computers that help monitor wine production, but Mireia Torres, the eldest daughter of Miguel Torres is the technical head for wine production and an heiress apparent for a part of the Torres empire, writes Subhash Arora

Barrel autographed by King Gustaf of Sweden

The Torres winery in Villafranca, about 60 kms from Barcelona, does not look very impressive from a distance, neither do the offices. That is because most of it is underground. It has been aesthetically very well designed and so well integrated with the natural environ that the King of Sweden, Carl Gustaf visited the winery last year to bestow a special award on Miguel Torres Sr- many artifacts and memorabilia are a witness to that historical visit.

The first question that comes to mind is how the new red wine fermentation facility constructed a couple of years ago is open- topped. Is there some new technology that has evolved during the last couple of years that I have missed out on? ‘Shortage of money,’ she says with a smile that exudes modesty, her reserved and shy nature and confidence. ‘Find us the money and we shall construct the ceiling,’ she adds light-heartedly.

But she does not mind sharing that the expansion process undergoing for the past few years at a fast pace was slowed down by her father Miguel Torres who sensed the ensuing recession and the resultant effects. ‘He is a very hard working and astute businessman who had the vision to foresee the recession and took his foot of the accelerator pedal for a couple of years.’ She says, ‘in any case our tanks have the cooling tubes around them to keep the fermentation temperature low and will probably cost us slightly more to keep the desired temperatures during the next couple of years.’

Blend Master

As the technical head, Mireia handles the wine making from grape to wine-even for the Chilean operation. Every year she spends a week in Chile to choose the right blends. ‘This year also I will be going at month-end for a week with Felix Sabar, our chief winemaker in Spain. ‘We will review with Fernando Almeda, the winemaker at the Chilean winery and decide on the blends.’ What happens if the three of you don’t come to an agreement? ‘We always come to an agreement!’ she says and laughs. But does her father get involved in the blending? ‘Of course, his stamp of approval is on every bottle. He likes to keep everything perfect.’

Experience and other background

How long has she been working in the winery? ‘I started to work in Torres in 1998 and have been working for the past 12 years.’ ‘Earlier I had studied for 6 years doing chemical engineering  during which I did research in brandy- comparing Torres brandy with Cognac- a very interesting experience.’

Does she have any educational experience in wine making, I ask? ‘Well, after I finished my engineering, my father convinced me to get some wine education and I did a one-and-a-half year diploma in enology and viticulture at the University of Montpellier.’ She had spent a harvest in Chile and also in Jean Leon, a close-by winery making premium wines, sold to Torres in the nineties on the condition that the brand name would be carried on without any change and Torres agreeing.

She is born to a German mother and has an American sister-in-law Sarah who is married to her younger brother Miguel Torres Jr., working as the CEO of the Chilean operations. Mireia is married to a Spaniard who is also a chemical engineer and works in the nearby town of Tarragona. When I wonder if he is also involved in the wine business, she clarifies that he is not interested in the first place. Even if he wanted to, she tells me of a do's and don’ts charter by her father which says that no one outside the direct family members who are related through blood shall work in the company.

Doesn’t her husband get stressed when she has to travel so much? Or about her long hours? ‘Not at all. He knows when the work has to be done, it has to be done. Besides, now I don’t travel so much out of Villafranca. My family is more important to me. And my work keeps me quite busy here,’ she adds.

The family wine empire

‘Although we are headquartered in Villafranca en Penedes, we have wineries in Priorat as well as Rioja and Ribera del Duero, besides Chile and the USA and a few other areas.’ She is a potential heiress to a couple of wineries out of the Torres empire expanded by Miguel Torres to around 200 million Euros business.

If she were asked to describe her father’s traits in a couple of sentences, what would she say apart from him being a hard worker. ‘Yes, he is a hard worker with many ideas, a person very involved with his company. I have learnt a lot working with him. He is very strict. But he does no interfere in my personal life- I won’t not let him.’

Mireia is a 5th generation Torres girl working in the winery. Her aunt Marimar runs the California wineries. Unknown to many, she has another sister Anna who is a plastic surgeon after studying in Barcelona. ‘She is not all interested in the wine business of the family,’ she says matter-of-factly.

Role of Woman Winemaker

Women continue to gain importance in the field of winemaking and Mireia is just one example. She says, ‘Lots of women are winemakers in Spain. Professionally they are more sensitive.  Frankly I feel it is easier for women to enter this field. The mentality of men has been changing rapidly too,’ adding, ‘do you know there is a Ministry of Equity between men and women in Spain?’

Quality of Torres wines

There is often criticism from journalists and wine critics that Torres produces boring wines. What does she have to say about that? ‘I don’t agree with that,’ she says coolly. ‘We produce different levels and qualities of wine. For example, in Viña Sol we want consistent quality even with the high volumes. Finca wines are wines from special vineyards, they are totally different wines where they express the vineyard and the climate in the wine in the bottle. We are doing a lot of research and investing a lot of money and efforts to improve the quality.

We have spent €1.5 million in research with the government. We have planted new vineyards in different zones looking for the typicity. There are certain Catalan variety of grapes-before Phylloxera 1900 . For 17 years we carried on research with a collection of 62 Catalan varieties, ten of which are very interesting for the future. We are going to release these wines and the people will love these wines, I feel.’


Environment Studies

Torres is considered to be very passionate about ecological consciousness. What specific steps have they taken? ‘We have done a lot of studies on the environment and climate change. We have already made significant progress in that direction with 12000 sq mtrs. of photovoltaic winery. We insulated many tanks to conserve energy, invested in wind parks, promoted hybrid cars and promoted the habitat of special ecological birds.’

‘We are doing a lot of joint research in the projects. I am leader of twenty five companies working on a project-studying the climate culture. It is a € 27 million 4-year  project started in 2008. We are the leaders in this area.’

Why Not Cava

It is rather intriguing that Torres does not produce any Cava, being 10 kms away from the Cava capital of Spain-Sant Sadurni. She smiles when I ask her the question, ‘you’d have to ask my father that question. I have asked him the same question many times.

She concludes the chat with, ‘behind every successful woman there is a husband.’ This says it all

Disney Land Rides

The winery visit is a great feature of the winery and they encourage visitors to come from Barcelona. ‘In fact, there are several travel agencies who organise the trips to our winery regularly although one can just as easily take a train from  Barcelona to Villafranca and take a taxi to the winery. We have over 110,000 visitors every year’

It costs €11.50 for a package that includes the 12 minute video presentation, a 7-minute ‘tunnel of aromas’ experience through audio visual presentation and a 40 minute tour through the winery on a train, followed by a tasting of four of their premium wines- Milmanda Chardonnay, Fransola Sauvignon Blanc, Mas de Las Planas Cabernet Sauvignon, and Mas Borrás single vineyard Pinot Noir.

If you hate to visit wineries or are too lazy to walk through a maze of stainless steel tanks, a valley of wooden barrels and the bottling plants, this visit is for you. Just sit in the train and relax while the guide and the multi-lingual recording steer you through different parts of the winery including the 10,000 capacity barrel room filled with never ending sea of 8000 barrels in a modern room.

Mireia took me through a specially built museum with family owned artifacts related to winemaking. If you are lucky to be with a special group (hopefully, this would include a group with the reference of delWine) you would be taken to this big hall after the tasting-one can spend hours gazing and marveling at many of the winery jewels on display. 

Mireia has to leave for another meeting- our chat already had overshot my promised time by 45 minutes. But the demure lady left me quite impressed with her achievements and aspirations.

Subhash Arora

Voluntary disclosure: The writer made a stop over at Barcelona on the way back to Delhi from Vinoble and accepted the hospitality of the winery for a day-editor



Ashok Shah Says:

Good Article !

Posted @ June 21, 2010 13:10


Want to Comment ?
Please enter your comments in the space provided below. If there is a problem, please write directly to Thank you.

Generate a new image

Type letters from the image:

Please note that it may take some time to get your comment published...Editor

Wine In India, Indian Wine, International Wine, Asian Wine Academy, Beer, Champagne, World Wine Academy, World Wine, World Wines, Retail, Hotel


Copyright©indianwineacademy, 2003-2020 |All Rights Reserved
Developed & Designed by Sadilak SoftNet