Meet the Team: Michael Torino

Blog Post

Michael Torino is Senior Vice President of Global Sales. In this position, Michael oversees our domestic and international distributor network and a team of Regional Sales Managers.

As an industry veteran with over 20 years’ experience, Michael has enjoyed a highly successful career beginning in the restaurant business. Michael then progressed into the supplier end of the wine business. With a strong passion for wine and an extensive travel itinerary, Michael enjoys every minute of his job and sharing his fondness for Ridge with our wholesale, restaurant, and retail partners.

1. When did you first join Ridge?

I joined Ridge in 2008 as the Eastern Regional Sales Manager and added Export Sales Director, Eastern Canada & The Caribbean as well as National On-Premise Account Manager to my responsibilities during my time in the Eastern Regional role.

2. What made you want to join the Ridge team?

I was very familiar with and had admired Ridge for a long time before joining; early in my career, I had the opportunity to sell Ridge in restaurants and later represented them at a wholesaler before I came to work here. In 2008, as Ridge was assembling a regional sales team, the opportunity for me to manage the East Coast came up, and it just made too much sense!

3. Tell us a bit about the Wholesale team.

Our team is very passionate about Ridge and what we do. From customer service to sales, the entire team is committed to excellence and challenging ourselves to be better every day. We work hard to ensure that we have the best possible representation and quality of distribution globally. Ridge has been one of the top wineries in the world for 60 years, and so much of our global reputation is built on our distribution.

I truly enjoy leading and developing my team. I love seeing them succeed. Almost all of my team has been promoted from within Ridge or promoted within my team, several have done both.

4. How has your role changed over time?

When I first started in 2008, I managed the East Coast. Over time I earned promotions to oversee the US first, and last year I took over our Global Sales. It has been an honor to take on the additional responsibility and something I don’t take lightly.  

5. How do you feel Ridge differs from other wineries?

Our commitment to quality and transparency. Many wineries like to talk about that, but few back it up. Some examples are our single-vineyard approach, move to ingredient labeling, and, more recently, joining the IWCA.

6. What are some of your fondest memories while working at Ridge?

I have so many fond memories of my time at Ridge. I have been fortunate enough to visit some of the best places in the world while working for Ridge and have shared too many amazing dinners with our trade partners to count! Getting to know these folks beyond just business has been enriching. Many of my closest friendships have come via Ridge.

Our annual Somm Symposium has to be another highlight. This is always one of the highlights of the year for me. We bring in 15 of the top Somms in the world for this event each year, we taste incredible wines, and we give them full access to the people and places that comprise Ridge. Every year I come out of this event exhausted but with a deeper connection to my team and our partners.

7. What is your favorite Ridge wine?

That is the most challenging question on this list! So many favorites, but I would be hard-pressed to pass up a well-aged Monte Bello!

With the nature of my role I have had the chance to taste some truly incredible aged Ridge wines that go back to the founding years of Ridge, including the 1971 vintage that was part of the 1976 Judgement of Paris tasting. That wine is history in a bottle!

8. If you could go wine tasting anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

Tuscany, since I was just there and am still daydreaming about it!

9. What’s your favorite Ridge fun fact?

That we were “this” close to being named El Camino Vino! Read more about it in this blog about our label.

10. What’s your favorite food and wine pairing?

Champagne and oysters! It is pure perfection!

11. If you could make one recommendation to our guests, what would that be?

Taste everything you get a chance to and have an open mind.


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