Torres is best known for producing wines across Spanish regions including Catalunya, Rioja and Ribera del Duero. It also has an international presence with Miguel Torres in Chile and Marimar in Sonoma, California, but for more than a decade it has been producing wines in Galicia too. This aspect of its portfolio started with the purchase of a 6ha vineyard in the Salnés subregion, producing the upmarket wine Blanco Granito based on Rías Baixas’ star variety, Albariño. The wine is made from a unique process, so far in a small cellar near the vineyard, using granite eggs for vinification.
Additionally, Torres has the larger-production Rías Baixas label of Pazo das Bruxas (also Albariño), but, as company director, Miguel Torres Maczassek told Decanter, ‘This small winery we’ve been using wasn’t large enough for the production of Pazo das Bruxas and our enologists had requested a larger space for additional control in winemaking as well as the potential to grow production down the line.’
The 3,000m² winery of Valdamor is currently an active cellar but Torres is planning for large renovations of the facility to be fully implemented by the start of the 2022 harvest. Winemaking will continue to be headed by Víctor Cortizo, who has overseen the Galician project since 2017 and is part of what Torres Maczassek said had been ‘a consolidation of our project in Rías Baixas over the past 10 years.’
This purchase marks something of a change for Torres, which more typically constructs new cellars to meet their needs with a strong focus on being eco-friendly as well as self-sufficient in terms of energy. It’s a focus that led to Torres founding the International Wineries for Climate Action in 2019 along with Jackson Family Wines in the United States. When asked the reason behind the purchase of Bodegas Valdamor, Torres Maczassek told Decanter, ‘It provided us with a more immediate manner to meet our needs once the renovations are completed.’
In addition to the Valdamor winery purchase and renovations, Torres will plant a 6ha vineyard in the subzone of Ribeira do Ulla and an additional 8ha in Salnés Valley in 2023. This will provide the company with a total 20ha of Albariño.
Torres Maczassek confirmed to Decanter that, ‘We believe heavily in the region and are very focused in growing the Pazo das Bruxas wine. Once everything is realised, we’ll have invested seven million Euros in the Galician project to date.’
Torres’ confidence in Galicia and its Albariño wines is well placed. For 2021, sales of Rías Baixas (where Albariño comprises 85% of the vineyards) to the United States increased 20% in volume and 33% in terms of value. The UK saw the variety and region’s profile rise as well with a 7% increase in volume and 15% increase in value.
All told, the Albariño wines from Rías Baixas are proving to be strong contenders in an international wine market that’s historically been dominated by white wines from the Loire Valley and New Zealand. At the same time, it’s proving via the rise in value figures that the concept of Spanish wine just being a ‘good price’ is no longer the country’s sole unique selling point.