Although the origins of Familia Torres as vine growers are documented as dating back to 1559, it was not until 1870 that brothers Miguel and Jaime Torres Vendrell founded “Casa Torres y Compañía, cosechero y exportadora de vino” (“Torres and Company, vintner and exporter of wine”) in Vilafranca del Penedès. Over the past 150 years, five generations of the same family have been able to ride out the highs and lows of each era and contribute to developing the business with an innovative vision to make Familia Torres a benchmark for Spanish wine worldwide.
Today, the fifth generation, represented by Miguel and Mireia Torres Maczassek, continues to pass on the family legacy based on respect for the land and tradition and also commits to innovation, but under the persistent challenge for vine-growing posed by the current climate emergency.
For Miguel Torres, general manager of Familia Torres, “our main feat has been keeping the winery in the family over all these years, with each generation innovating in its own way and contributing its particular vision to the development of the business. It amazes me that we’ve reached this point and we’re lucky to be able to keep doing what we’re passionate about: making wine and looking after the vines. The biggest challenge we’re facing now is climate change.”
If the forecasts are met, this year, the Penedès winery will have reduced its CO2 emissions per bottle across the board, from the vineyard to the consumer, by 30% compared to 2008, when Familia Torres launched the fight against climate change as one of its main lines of action through implementing adaptation and mitigation measures. For 2030, a new goal has been set to cut its carbon footprint by 55%, thanks mainly to the use of renewable energies, energy efficiency, sustainable mobility, and reforestation, while the adaptation aspect is particularly focused on looking for new settings in colder areas and more resistant varieties.
Besides working with organic vine-growing in the majority of its vineyards and preserving landscapes with historic vineyards, the fifth generation of Familia Torres is focusing on making small-production wines from unique estates and is committed to recovered ancestral varieties as a solution to the new climate scenario. As part of the project that began over 30 years ago, Familia Torres has been able to identify at least six varieties (from among more than 50 that have been recovered) with great winemaking potential and suitable for adapting to high temperatures and drought since they are late-ripening varieties with pronounced acidity.
Five generations dedicated to wine and vine
150 years ago, the Torres family went from being small Penedès vine-growers to wine merchants thanks to the entrepreneurial spirit of Jaime, who had made his fortune in Cuba before returning to the Penedès region and joining forces with Miguel, his vine-grower brother. The business was established with a focus on exportation and soon began to expand. Juan Torres Casals, the son of Miguel Torres Vendrell, began to distill wines to make brandies, while his son, Miguel Torres Carbó, had to face one of the most difficult periods in the family’s history: the bombing of the winery during the Spanish Civil War. Once reconstructed, he made the wise decision to start bottling wines, allowing him to consolidate the Torres brand and expand throughout the world.
The fourth generation, under Miguel A. Torres, modernized the winemaking techniques and introduced French varieties, with which he made wines such as Mas La Plana and Milmanda, capable of competing with great international wines. He was also responsible for expanding the wine business from a production perspective, with the launch of Miguel Torres Chile in 1979, followed by the Marimar Estate in California some years later.
With the incorporation of the fifth generation into the business, Familia Torres began its expansion into the main Spanish wine regions – Ribera del Duero, Rioja, Rueda, and Rías Baixas – a wealth of wineries and small vineyards that would be added to the properties Torres already had in Catalonia, specifically in the Penedès, Priorat, Conca de Barberà, and Costers del Segre.
With around 2000 hectares of vineyards, nine wineries in Spain, and a presence in 150 countries, Familia Torres exhaustively controls the entire process from grape to glass. Today, its wines form a mosaic of vineyards, established in many cases on historical properties and in unique locations; wines that seek to capture the essence of each of these vineyards and that speak honestly of those landscapes, with their terroirs and varieties. Mas de la Rosa (DOQ Priorat), Purgatori (DO Costers del Segre), and Vinyarets (DO Penedès) are some of the latest wines Torres has launched.
Today, the value of a hereditary wine-growing legacy, the identity of a family business with a long-term vision, the innovative quality that has characterized the winery over its long history, and the commitment to the environment, all coexist within Familia Torres. These are values that have contributed to projecting and consolidating its image in international markets and to earning acknowledgements such as being named the World’s Most Admired Wine Brand by British journal Drinks International on four occasions. Moreover, Familia Torres is part of Primum Familiae Vini, an association comprising 12 of the most prestigious centuries-old wine-producing families in the world, and has recently founded International Wineries for Climate Action to decarbonize the global wine industry.
Celebrating the 150th anniversary
To celebrate its 150 years of history, Familia Torres is working to put together a commemorative book that will include the main milestones along its extensive journey and the contributions of each of the five generations that have been at the helm of the business, illustrated with anecdotes and unpublished photos. Torres will also organize various events for partners, customers, and professionals from the sector throughout the year, with the main event being a gala dinner that will take place in May at the old winery in Vilafranca del Penedès, where the whole story began.