Bodegas Fariña Aims To Make Name For Spain’s Toro Region In U.S.May 22, 2012
Bodegas Fariña, one of the founding wineries of the Toro region in northwestern Spain, has long focused on its domestic market. But in recent years the company has renewed its efforts in export markets, including the United States.
“We pulled out of the U.S. about 15 years ago,” says Bodegas Fariña export director Nicola Thornton. “We came back in 2009, concentrating principally on our Dama de Toro brand ($10-$45 a bottle). We’re currently in major markets—about one-third of the country—and intend to expand from there over the next few years.”
Bodegas Fariña produces around 4.4 million bottles annually, roughly one-third of that coming from its D.O. Toro winery under the Dama de Toro line. The other two-thirds of production, including the Peromato brand—which Thornton describes as an everyday wine selling for around $9—is made at a second winery just outside the Toro, in the Castilla y Leon area.
In the U.S., Bodegas Fariña’s wines currently sell around 10,000 cases, imported by California’s Specialty Wine Cellars in coastal markets and Chicago’s Enye Group in the Midwest. Owner Manuel Fariña Lopez says that number can triple within five years, because the wines—which are lower-alcohol and more approachable than those for which the Toro is known—dovetail with U.S. consumer trends.
“I think the recent movement toward sweeter, lower-alcohol wines in the U.S. is a defining change,” Fariña Lopez says. “The Toro does have recognition—certainly in the trade it’s known—but it hasn’t filtered down to the consumer yet. A lot of the newer wineries in the area are returning to the big, high-alcohol style of the past. But Fariña has always focused on very drinkable lower-alcohol wines and we’ll continue to do that.”
The company does make one wine in the bigger, more tannic style—its 2009 Especial 70th Aniversario edition, which is being introduced this year at $25 a bottle, is at 14.5%-abv. Thornton says Fariña is in the process of deciding whether to make the Aniversario wine, of which 75,000 bottles were produced, a regular part of the winery’s line looking ahead.Subscribe to Shanken News Daily’s Email Newsletter, delivered to your inbox each morning.
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