Mireia Torres, General Director of Jean Leon and Director of Innovation and Knowledge of Familia Torres, has gained a reputation within the wine world and has become one of the most influential women in this sector. In addition, Mireia has dedicated a large part of her professional career to research in the field of oenology and viticulture.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day, Mireia tells us what it is like to be a woman in the wine world and introduces us to the Jean Leon Winery, her most personal project and to which she is completely committed.
How did your relationship with oenology begin?
The wine world has always been present in my life, since my family dedicates itself entirely to it.
You are currently successfully managing Jean Leon, a prestigious winery, what do you think is the secret?
Jean Leon has always been a special winery. Its founder Jean Leon was a pioneer in his time making great wines in the Penedès with French varieties. My family promised him that we would continue the legacy, and that is what we have done.
For me, the secret for things to go well is to put all the passion in the world and a lot of heart into what you do. However, the most important thing is teamwork, and at Jean Leon we have a great human team.
Is it easy to be a woman in the wine world?
From my point of view, no. Fortunately, today I see many more women in the wine world and I love it. However, I still see very few women in managerial positions. Much remains to be done.
“Today I see many more women in the wine world and I love it”
Do you consider yourself an innovative woman?
I believe in innovation, and today I am fortunate to be able to carry out many innovation projects related to the family wineries and vineyards. In fact, many projects were carried out at Jean Leon.
How do you value the female presence’s evolution in the sector?
It is positive, but there is still a lot to do. The number of women in the wine world continues increasing. Today, a third of winemakers and a quarter of sommeliers are women. In addition, there is also a certain equity between the students who choose to study oenology.
And in Jean Leon?
Right now, out of a team of 16, we are 7 women. Roser and I work on the wines’ decision. We make a good tasting team, since we share the vision of how the quality of each Jean Leon wine should be.
What do you think a feminine approach brings to the wine world?
The wine world is complex, and generally it is still quite masculine. A feminine approach brings an openness and that’s good. I believe in the richness of mixed teams, since, generalizing, men and women have different ways of doing things and we complement each other.
“The wine world is complex, and generally it is still quite masculine. A feminine approach brings an openness”
Do you think that climate change is changing viticulture?
Climate change is the biggest overall threat the wine industry is currently facing, especially given its significant impact on the vineyard. In terms of Europe, the most affected areas are Mediterranean countries. This report prepared by MedECC (2020) confirms that temperatures have risen by 1.5°C in Mediterranean countries compared to the pre-industrial era. The same report predicts significant temperature increases between now and 2100.
All of this results in water scarcity, desertification, and a reduction in agricultural productivity. The range of different scenarios largely depends on the measures and agreements that countries implement in order to reduce emissions. Based on these scenarios, wine producers and winegrowers can decide on adaption and mitigation strategies.
From Jean Leon, what is being done to fight against climate change?
At Jean Leon we are carrying out projects on the vegetation cover of the vineyard soil, on the study of biodiversity in the vineyards, on the irrigation, on the work with late-ripening varieties and, to be more sustainable, projects of variable application of phytosanitary products in ecological. In addition, we are also committed to renewable energy and to mobility in electric cars.
How would you define a good wine from your point of view?
For me, a good wine is the one that has a good balance and that is elegant. From here, there can be many styles that can suit you more or less depending on the occasion (food, company…).
What is special about Jean Leon wines?
They are wines with soul, unique, from very special vineyards in the Penedès, where the entire team has contributed our best to produce them. Jean Leon wines reflect the effort and perseverance of a project in which quality and sustainability become the fundamental purpose.