MILAN, 04/20/2020—As Stephanie Cuadra, founder of Terrestoria Wine Imports reflects on the decision to expand the reach of her niche portfolio from Utah to California through the LibDib online distribution platform, there is a sense the move was inevitable all along. “Here in Italy, where I’ve spent much of my adult life, most people still think of me as a Californian,” says Cuadra. “And I suppose, in many ways, they must be right.”
Though born in Los Angeles, raised in Pasadena and a former resident of Salt Lake City, this independent wine merchant and mother of five has called Milan home for well over a decade, preceded by alternating periods between Rome and Sardinia stretching back to the 1990s. “To be honest, I always had trouble defining an identity for myself, until I found my calling in the world of wine,” says Cuadra. That calling is precisely what led to the creation in 2017 of Terrestoria, a wine imports venture founded in Utah, one of the most fertile startup environments in the United States, if an unorthodox choice for a fine wine importer.
The Terrestoria project goes against the grain, indeed, as Cuadra goes to great lengths to identify wines and producers whose names are unfamiliar to the mainstream market—but with qualities she feels, given the chance, can appeal to a surprisingly broad spectrum of consumers. Her rigorous selection criteria—which include extremely low production volumes, a preference for indigenous grapes grown in their place of origin, and organic farming practices—ensure every addition to the portfolio is well-vetted and a good fit for the wine drinkers Cuadra has in mind. While requiring considerable time and patience, this approach has resonated in Utah where consumers see added value in artisanship and known provenance.
With three years of consistent growth within Utah’s control state environment and an expanding lineup of stellar wine allocations, Cuadra is hopeful she will now find receptive audiences among Californians too. Having developed Terrestoria’s focused business model “on the fringes of tierdom” as Cuadra puts it, LibDib’s Distribution Reimagined motto sums up the most logical step forward for this small industry outlier. Terrestoria joins the LibDib network with two Spanish producers and six Italian brands, with plans to cover all 20 regions of Italy by the end of 2022, while exploring further expansion into specific areas of interest in both Spain and France.
ABOUT TERRESTORIA WINE IMPORTS
Founded in Salt Lake City and operating from satellite offices in Milan, Terrestoria was created to foster discovery among Utah’s burgeoning community of wine enthusiasts. While focusing on lesser-known wine regions and indigenous grapes of Italy and Spain, Terrestoria partners with small-scale producers whose voices are rarely heard beyond local borders. Terrestoria champions inclusiveness in the wine industry and is proud to represent the following women-led wineries: Adega San Salvador de Soutomaior (Rías Baixas, Galicia); Bàrbara Forés (Terra Alta, Catalonia); Cascina Montagnola (Colli Tortonesi, Piedmont); Massimago (Valpolicella, Veneto); Vigna Lenuzza (Friuli Colli Orientali); Podere Conca (Bolgheri, Tuscany); Alepa (Terre del Volturno, Campania); Quarta Generazione (Mt. Vulture, Basilicata); Santa Maria La Nave (Etna, Sicily).