Over more than a decade, the editors of Wine Enthusiast Magazine have honored individuals who have contributed to the success of the wine and spirits industry with the Wine Star Awards. The winners are noted for their energy and groundbreaking vision, but this year, another theme is apparent: family. Because of the long-term nature of the industry, family-owned concerns have always been the bedrock that the wine business rests on.
"It is with great pride that we award this prestigious recognition to the leaders of an industry driving a great passion we all have—wine," stated Publisher and Editor Adam Strum. "We are thrilled to add these individuals and businesses to our family of Wine Star Awards winners."
The 2012 Wine Star Awards Winners:
Wine Person of the Year:
Joseph E. Gallo, E&J Gallo
President and CEO of the world's largest family-owned winery, Joseph E. Gallo has reinvented the company his father and uncle founded, creating the largest exporter of California wine, overseeing robust development of an expansive import business, expanding into Washington State, creating a powerful spirits business and nurturing the world's top-selling wine brand, Barefoot, among many others.
Miguel A. Torres, Torres Group: Miguel Agustín Torres, a pioneer in employing modern winemaking techniques in multiple countries and a leader in the globalization of wine, joined his family's wine business 50 years ago, Under his leadership, Miguel Torres S.A. has grown into one of the largest wineries in Spain, while the Torres Group of wineries, which includes properties in Chile and California in addition to Priorat, Rioja, Ribera del Duero and other regions within Spain, is world renowned. Across the globe, Torres wines are sold in 140 countries.
A man of the people as well as the boardroom, Torres recently stepped down as general manager of the Torres Group but is continuing as group president, a position that allows him to oversee and grow budding import and distribution businesses in China and India, emerging markets. ??
~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~A lifelong visionary who, early on, grasped the importance of exporting his family's wines along with the "culture of wine," Torres spearheaded the purchase of 250 acres of vineyard land in Chile's Curicó Valley in 1979, thereby setting up the company's original overseas winery. He immediately imported and installed that country's first stainless steel fermentation tanks and also brought in the first new oak barrels Chile had seen since the 1940s. In 1996, the Chilean government named Torres a Grand Official of the Order of Bernardo O'Higgins in recognition of his contributions to developing Chile's fledgling wine sector.
Since the dawning of the new millennium, Torres has largely concentrated his efforts in three key areas: domestic expansion; importing and distributing Torres wines in China and India; and speaking about climate change and its impact on global viticulture. ??
"Miguel Torres has changed the world of wine by not only setting an example for the modernization of the Spanish wine industry, but on a global scale," says Wine Enthusiast editor and publisher Adam Strum.