Torres Enters Rioja

Spain's largest family-owned wine businesses continues growth.

Torres S.A., Spain's largest family-owned wine businesses, is continuing to take on the look of a company in full growth mode. Major purchases over the past few years in Ribera del Duero, Priorat, Toro and Jumilla have transformed Torres from a purely Catalan winemaker into a nationwide wine company. Now Torres is entering into La Rioja, Spain's most influential wine region.

Torres, based in Vilafranca del Penedès, Catalonia, recently announced the purchase of a 13-acre estate in the municipality of Labastida (Rioja Alavesa). At present time, the property is nothing more than scrubland. However, because Torres will operate out of a subregion known as El Alto Otero, which sits in the heart of the La Rioja Alavesa, one of Rioja's three subregions, Torres is banking on its ability to make top-flight wine.

Situated partly in Basque country, the Rioja Alavesa region specializes in Tempranillo production. Torres says it will soon begin construction on a winery and barrel cellars, with a goal of making its first Rioja vintage in 2009. In announcing the move, Torres did not say that it will plant new vineyards. A spokesperson confirmed that the project will be similar in scope to Torres's Ribera del Duero operation, which makes wine under the Celeste label but relies on purchased grapes.

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