Born in 1945 in Barcelona, Spain, Marimar Torres has been involved in the wine business all her life.
She is fluent in six languages and holds a degree in business and economics from the University of Barcelona. She is also a graduate of the Stanford Executive Program, and studied enology and viticulture for a year at the University of California at Davis. At Marimar Estate, she directs the activities at the winery and its Don Miguel Vineyard (named after her late father) in the Sonoma Russian River Valley appellation and Doña Margarita vineyard (named after her late mother) in the Sonoma Coast appellation.
Prior to her involvement in the Sonoma operation, Marimar traveled extensively promoting Torres wines, first in Spain as the company’s export Director and later in North America, when California became her home in 1975. At that time, shipments of Torres wines to the U.S. totalled 15,000 cases; 10 years later they reached 150,000. To achieve this was not easy; especially in the beginning, Marimar was confronted with the common notion that the wine business was no place for a woman. Eventually, her tenacity and business acumen helped her overcome this bias, and she became the best-known ambassador of Spanish wines in America.
In 1986, Marimar began planting a 56-acre (22.5-hectare) vineyard in a cool microclimate ideally suited to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The original land has been increased to the present 32 hectares (80 acres), of which 12 hectares (30 acres) are planted with Chardonnay and 20 hectares (50 acres) with Pinot Noir. Because of her European heritage, emphasis on the vineyard is a natural concept for Marimar. The wines, made entirely from estate-grown grapes, are truly an expression of their terroir. The first release, a 1989 barrel-fermented Chardonnay, debuted in April, 1991, to great acclaim. In 1992, a 15,000-case winery was built and the estate’s first Pinot Noir was produced, which was released in September 1994.
Marimar's dedication to the family business, however, has not come at the expense of other pursuits. An authority on Spanish cuisine, her first book, The Spanish Table: The Cuisines and Wines of Spain, was published in 1986. Her second book, The Catalan Country Kitchen: Food and Wine from the Pyrenees to the Mediterranean Seacoast of Barcelona, came out in April, 1992. Marimar lives in Sausalito and Sebastopol with her daughter Cristina. Her interests include skiing, jogging, biking and horse-back riding.