In search of new Horizons.
The first foreign colonies settlings in the central west of Argentina began in 1830. Hard times were running in Italy. The industrial era had already begun in the mid-19th century, requiring workers of any sex and age to work in inhuman places and from sun to sun. The European farmer’s problem was that there was plenty of manpower but lack of land. This situation made it hard to get ahead. There was little hope of own land and safe work.
In search of a new life, the known possibility was Africa, but it was a different population and hostile for the white man, or America, unknown and even desert but whose governments wanted to populate and civilize. They had to prepare themselves for facing an unknown world, of which they barely had news on the comments of others emigrants’ relatives, who used to tell, in their poor correspondence, how were their chances of improving their luck. The group was determined and prepared, and only expected the arrival of the European winter, with the agricultural work decrease, to hopefully undertaking, the long and unknown journey to their new destination, as they said in their talks, "LA AMERICA".
(Immigrants leaving Italy to make “LA AMERICA”)
The Chosen Land
In December 1883, after a 45-day boat trip, Don César Tornaghi, pioneer of viticulture in San Rafael and our company founder, arrived in Argentina. Coming from Cologno Monzese, Lombardy region, he arrived with other 20 Italian immigrants. They were hosted in the Immigrantes Hotel, natural shelter of the European colonization. Besides lodging, from there they were offered the final destination and its location within a new almost unpopulated nation.
Immigrants accidentally contacted the preast Manuel Marco, an Italian who arrived in San Rafael as the 7th cavalry chaplain at San Rafael fort. The religious man, who was in possession of extensive uncultured latitudes and enthusiastic about the colonization projects of that time, travelled to Buenos Aires in search of manpower for their lands. They quickly empathized from their beliefs and because of the same language. From there they undertake the trip to San Rafael.
Copy of an insurance issued for Don César Tornaghi
They had never seen such an unpopulated land and that sea of typical thorny bushes of the mountain or almost a desert area. In beautiful and beloved Italy this is not even dreamt. After a long trip, they arrived in San Rafael and started working in Marco’s lands, who, unfortunately, soon run out of financial resources to fulfill with payments. This is the moment in which some of the immigrants decide to leave and go to Mendoza city. But fortunately, at the same time appeared Rodolfo Iselin’s proposal, a wealthy French man, owner of extensive lands, who knowing the Italians’ effort and hard work, offered them lands which were on sale and could to be paid with work. He also assured them remuneration and a merchandise credit.
It was then when Sir Cesar Tornaghi sits with his family on his 6 ha plot of Italia street and begins to cultivate the land, planting his farm, building his house and winery with raw adobe and cane. In this way he’s beginning a new life in these lands that had received him with the open arms, giving him the possibility of reaching his dream, a decent work and growing possibilities for his family. By 1893 Don Cesar Tornaghi acquires the lands and begins the viticulture as the main activity, the one that lasts till nowadays.
Label for the barrels that were delivered by train.
In 1903 an important event arrived for the rising city. In few years the Italian colony lands were fully cultivated and in production. The railway arrival allowed a better product exit, ensuring a better economic stability. Through this transport mean, and till the 60’s decade, the wine was transported in French oak barrels, mainly to Buenos Aires.
Afterwards, the commercialization began in 10-liter demijohns, then in the 70´s in 5-liter demijohns, and bottles of 700 ml and 1 l. Since those years the company has been incorporating technology, marketing wines in different packages, keeping its centennial brand and innovating in different products and markets, both in the domestic market as in the export.
Over the years, Sir Cesar Tornaghi’s family has been evolving, integrating two aims that synthesize today, the company mission: To produce quality wines by combining all the production factors in the best possible way. This has required cultivating vines of selected strains, with adapted technology that respects our climate and soil conditions, producing grapes with careful methods and the most important, working with enthusiasm, effort and dedication.
The Tornaghi family currently has the oldest wine history in San Rafael. From the beginning, the business has been always in family hands. Today, the fifth generation of that typical Italian immigrant continues developing quality products and keeping the prestige achieved through so many years.