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Spain’s Torres Moves To Ste. Michelle From Dreyfus, Ashby In U.S.

March 19, 2014

Prominent Spanish producer Miguel Torres is set to shift its U.S. importing rights from Dreyfus, Ashby & Co. to Ste. Michelle Wine Estates in May. The move marks a significant change, given Torres’ longtime relationship with Dreyfus, Ashby—controlled by Burgundy’s Drouhin family—in which it acquired a nearly 10% stake in the mid-2000s.

Based in Barcelona, Torres is among Spain’s leading wineries—exporting to 150 countries—with properties in Penedès, Priorat, Conca de Barberà, Ribera del Duero and Rioja. It also owns vineyards in Chile and California. Key labels in the portfolio include Sangre de Toro from Penedès ($12 a 750-ml. bottle), Ibéricos from Rioja ($19), Ibéricos ($24) and Salmos from the Priorat ($28). Torres has hovered around 50,000 cases in the U.S. in recent years, according to Impact Databank estimates.

The distribution agreement also covers the Spanish brand Jean Leon and Torres’ premium brandies, which include the Torres 10-year and the Jaime I 30-year bottlings. Torres sells around 1 million cases of brandy in Mexico and has been looking to leverage that business in certain U.S. markets like Arizona, Texas and California.

Pointing to the double-digit U.S. growth for Spanish wines in 2013, and increasing consumer interest in premium wines from lesser-known appellations—like Priorat in Catalonia—Ste. Michelle president and CEO Ted Baseler said Torres is an “ideal fit with our ‘string of pearls’ wineries,” all of which utilize estate vineyards. The Ste. Michelle import portfolio also includes Tuscany’s Marchesi Antinori, New Zealand’s Villa Maria and France’s Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte.

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