Cristobal Toral, The Managing Director of America talks about SurValles Wine Group and shares his experience with the bulk wine business.
Cristobal grew up in Chile but later he emigrated to the United States with a scholarship in tennis. He studied International Business and Marketing at the University of Toledo, Ohio, and also completed his MBA in Finance. Toral has been working with SurValles for more than 12 years, one of the largest exporters of wine in Chile. He started working in SurValles as the Managing Director at SurValles wine group in North America and Caricam but now he has become the Managing Director of America. With the help of an experienced team led by Cristobal today, SurValles has become the leading exporter of Chilean bulk wine.
Tell us about yourself and how you started your journey with SurValles Wines Group?
I am a former college tennis player. I played tennis at the University of Toledo in Ohio where I received a bachelor’s degree in International Business and an MBA in Finance.
In 2008 I moved to Miami and that same year Sur Valles was just opening a commercial office.The first goal was to grow our US business and from there open new markets in Latin America.
Tell us about SurValles Wine Group and how it stands so successful in the wine industry?
Sur Valles Wine group owned by the Achurra family is the second most important winery from Chile in the US. We can adjust to the market needs and move quickly to capitalize on those opportunities. Our partners know we will find a solution for their needs.
Also, our production Team in Chile is very flexible and that’s exactly what the market is looking for today.
What is so unique about the brands by SurValles, how will you describe these brands?
Extreme consistency and continuous adjustments in order to maintain an innovative edge. We are a great solution when it comes to filling holes in distributor’s and importer’s portfolio.
Also, Toro de Piedra is the #1 brand in Nielsen data in the Premium category in Chile. It is very important that in our home country people also choose our main brand.
Image source: Turtonwines
Tell us about the locations you produce grapes and about the vinification and manufacturing of bulk wines.
Our vineyards are located in the Central Valley of Chile. From north to south: Casablanca, Maipo, Colchagua, Curico, Maule and Itata.
As our Technical Director, Benoit Fitte always repeats : our winemaking philosophy is just like a traditional small French winery on a large scale.
After being in the market for more than 50 years, what are the changes that have occurred within your brand in terms of wine production?
Sur Valles Wine Group is a family company and already on the third generation. The third generation is already active and bringing new ideas to continue growing as a company.
The biggest challenge that we have faced is the continuous growth in the different markets. Our winery has always planned for growth by adding new valleys and growing the number of wine barrels for ageing capacity. Today we have more than 7,300 barrels in our facility in Chile.
Lastly, the other important challenge is that the winery is very committed to preserving a sustainable production of wine and preserving friendly environmental practices along the process.
SurValles produces bulk wine which is unique itself, how do you maintain the standards of the wine and which is your most sold wine?
We are as traditional as it gets but very focused on making adjustments and innovating when necessary in order to stay competitive.
Our winery is focused on the bottle and brand business. Our main brand is Toro de Piedra.
Who are your buyers and who are your target clientele? Tell us about your biggest clients.
We produced wines for the end consumer. We research constantly in order to maintain our partners happy with great products and many times exclusive products.
Our partners vary from supermarket chains, on-premise chains, liquor store chains, etc.
Our biggest markets are Asia and the Americas. Within the Americas: Mexico and Central America are growing. Lastly, Brazil is also a strategic market and very important for our winery.
What are your plans for SurValles and how do you envision SurValles in the upcoming years?
Our main goal is to grow an awesome TEAM. Also, maintain our product/brand consistency and new opportunities with retail off and on-premise will continue to expand.
As one of the main players from Chile in the US our responsibility is to continue leading the way for the category by adding exciting and innovative new products that the US market can relate to.