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MS.Sarah Imbert: Marc Imbert’s wife who is actively involved on the Commercial and Marketing side at the domain,
MR.Christophe Imbert: Marc Imbert’s brother who is in charge of the distribution of Domaine de Torraccia wines on the Asian market
MS.Chloe Nury: Communication consultant and Owner of Noe Communications – in charge of the Marketing & PR for the domain
Could you please tell us the story of your winery, when it was created and how it developed decades after decades ?
Domaine de Torraccia was created by Christian Imbert in 1964, following his return from North-Africa. Having explored many Mediterranean islands, he decided to plant his organic vineyard in reclaimed scrubland in the hills above Porto Vecchio. Unlike the trend at that time, he planted indigeneous grape varieties and worked hard to improve the quality and typicity of Corsican wine. In 1971, he created the group UVA Corse (UVA means grape in Corsican) and started the battle to obtain the AOC Vin de Corse-Porto-Vecchio designation in the early 1970s. He dedicated part of his life to raising awareness about the traditional grape varieties, the island’s different terroirs and the local winemaking techniques.
In 2008, Christian Imbert’s son, Marc Imbert, took over the vineyard following in his father’s footsteps but also sharing his fresh vision and techniques. Marc is also very environmentally conscious seeing the domain as an ecosystem where everything has its function and importance.
What sort of wines are you producing ?
We have 2 ranges of wine, one is our entry-level, easy drinking Torraccia, and the second, our signature wine called (which means cache or stash in Corsican, in a reference to the island’s infamous bandits who hid their money and arms in mountain caves).
None of our wines are aged in oak, and our Oriu red can be kept up to 25 years.
How important are your export distribution compared to national distribution ?
Currently we export about 10% of our wines, but we aim to increase this % to 30% in 5 to 8 years. Increasing export is important for us in order not to suffer from cycles in the local Corsican and even national markets. We aim to a more balance spread of sales between local, national and export.
What sort of distributors are your customers ?
Corsican wines are still featured as specialty items in distributors listings although it has gained traction on some leading international markets. Distributors selling Corsican wines and Domaine de Torraccia need to be convinced and promote the uniqueness of the wines and believe in the potential of the acceptance in the medium term of their high quality by their respective markets.
Why your wines are different from other wineries in your area ?
Domaine de Torraccia is unique in that Christian Imbert was one of the original winemakers who brought back the lost varietals of Corsica and started raising the exposure on Corsican wines in France and abroad. Oriu red in 1974 was possibly the first 100% corsican wine that proved : 1. the grapes were excellent/ 2. they needed no wood/ 3. they could age up to 20 years. Christian’s work, giving him Legion d’Honneur and Merite Agricole was paramount for creating the AOCs throughout the island and creating a regional French wine of significance.
Do you produce grapes in a organic or environmental friendly method, or with general methods ?
Yes, organically and, more importantly, sustainably grown through traditional agricultural practices. All harvesting and pruning are done by hand, we do regular plowing to maintain humidity and nurture deep root growth. We also use green fertilizers (plantings between the rows of vines that absorb nitrogen in their roots and then plowed in to provide mulch and natural fertilizer). Our winery has also been built to work with gravity, allowing for the wine to stream from winery levels.
Are your wines already distributed in Asia, and if not what are the countries you are looking for new distributors ?
With regards to export to Asia, Domaine de Torracia wines are currently distributed in 2 countries: Japan and Thailand. Japan public which has been a mature and sophisticated market for a while, understands the true value of the wines. As for Thailand, it is a bit of an oddity as Christophe Imbert, one of the owners of Domaine de Torraccia, has a company importing wines there. Asia is very divers in terms of potential for Corsican wines. Some markets are mature and others are really emerging. Corsican wines have been quite absent until now, but market become more sophisticated and are looking for a differentiating uniqueness in wines. We believe that Domaine de Torraccia could start seeing some potential in markets as Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia and New Zealand.
Is there anything who want to add about your wines, story or any news ?
Domaine de Torraccia wines is very much part of the rebirth of Corsican vineyard in the past 50 years. Its has been at the forefront of the push behind local varietals such as Niellucciu, Sciacarellu and Vermentinu. The vineyard has been organic since the very start as this was the obvious path toward quality. Its various cuvees whether Torraccia or the more premium Oriu, have all their own followings. It is also one of the rare domain in Corsica which offers a collection of vintage wines that can be found on some of the best restaurant’s tables in Paris, London or New York.
Thank you MS.Sarah Imbert, MR.Christophe Imbert & MS.Chloe Nury for your time and answers!
Domaine de Torraccia: www.domaine-de-torraccia.com
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