By Jim Boyce | Torres China is marking two decades of business this year and got some staff and winery partners together during the China Food & Drinks Fair in Chengdu today as part of the celebration.
Miguel A. Torres started the company in 1997 at a time when China had few distributors, the most notable being Montrose, ASC, Summergate and Jebsen. Current managing partner Alberto Fernandez came on board three years later and has since steered the firm through 17 years of China’s roller-coaster wine scene. Torres has weathered the ride well and ranks among the top 30 importers in a market that has seen massive growth and now has more than 5,000 players.
Torres has carried wines from over a dozen countries, held lots of fun events, such as the Taste of Nations series and this superb Mas de Plana tasting, and started a retail branch that includes shops in cities like Beijing, Foshan, Guangdong, Nanjing and Shanghai. But three things about Torres stand out more than anything to me.
One, that so many employees stay so long at Torres, in an industry where turnover is notoriously high, says a lot about the company and its culture.
Two, Torres played a crucial role in promoting quality Chinese wine by distributing Shanxi’s Grace Vineyard from 2004 to 2016 (Grace decided to move to ASC last year) and Ningxia’s Silver Heights since its first vintage in 2009, two of the country’s most influential operations. The recent launch of Silver Heights’ “Last Warrior” series is the latest move.
Third, Torres has been the most consistent supporter of Grape Wall of China. From joining the annual Grape Wall Challenge to providing insights into the wine scene or chances to taste vintages from operations such as Silver Heights and Grace, Torres has helped make this blog better.
Expect more posts soon about Torres and its 20 years in China.