The Proust Q&A: Miguel Torres

Miguel A. Torres, a fourth generation of the Torres winemaking family and green pioneer, is one of the most recognised names in Spanish wine. After 50 years at Bodegas Torres, he will hand over the reins as general manager to his son Miguel Jr. this September on turning 71, staying on in the company as group president. He lives in Penedès with his German-born wife Waltraud.

Miguel Torres. Credit: Charlie Mahoney

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

What I did last week: a cycling holiday with my wife Waltraud.

What is your greatest fear? 

Global warming and its consequences in the vineyards and to the lives of 7,000 million people.

Who do you most admire?

All volunteers who help the needy without expecting anything back, like the Catalan Vicente Ferrer who did a fantastic job in India.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Having our own restaurant at our winery with a chef who worked at a 3 Michelin-starred restaurant. It’s our little luxury.

What is your current state of mind? 
Worried because of the global crisis; happy that we made all our investments before the crisis, proud that our company is doing quite well, and optimistic for the future.

What is the quality you most like in a woman? 

Intelligence and femininity.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

“It’s very good, but let’s try to make it even better”.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My wife, my children and all our family.

When and where were you happiest?

Starting out as a winemaker in the sixties and experimenting with international grape varieties.

Which talent would you most like to have?

Understanding people quickly; getting to know their qualities and their needs.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

My impatience.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

With the help of my wife, being able to raise our family successfully.

Where would you most like to live?

Right where I am; our home at Mas La Plana in Penedès.

What is your most treasured possession?

The 14th century castle of Milmanda where Charles V and Philip II once hunted.

What is your most marked characteristic?

Perseverance.

Who are your favorite writers?

Mauricio Wiesenthal, Carmen Riera, Charles Handy, Hugh Johnson and Stephan Faris.

Who is your hero of fiction?

John Wayne in The Searchers.

What is it that you most dislike?

Arrogance, lack of humility, and obsession for profit at any price.

What is your greatest regret?

I should have been more patient with my father.

What is your motto?

Think and act sustainably, and enjoy every moment, every day.

Who would be your ideal dinner party guests and what wines would you serve them?

I’d throw a green-themed dinner party and would invite Al Gore, Stephan Faris – who wrote the book Forecast about climate change – and Ricardo Lagos, the UN special envoy for climate change. On pour would be Mas La Plana 1970, Marimar Pinot Noir 2008 from California and Manso de Velasco 2007 from Chile.

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