Cristina Forner: Redefining Business Excellence Through Innovation and Undeterred Resolution

Business Leaders

Business Leaders

Marqués de Cáceres is a family business founded in 1970 by Enrique Forner. It is currently managed by Cristina Forner, President & CEO of the company, and the third generation of this wine family. Enrique, Christina’s father, laid the foundation of Marqués de Cáceres after gaining a long wine experience in France and more significantly in his two properties in Bordeaux: Château Larose Trintaudon and Château Camensac, with classified growth in the Haut-Médoc. 

Christinafamily is Spanish by origin, but during the Spanish civil war in 1936, they fled to France, leaving behind their wine business and established a négociant business in the Rhone and Loire Valley.   

When her father decided to return to his homeland in 1970 and create a new winery, he chose La Rioja, one of the most prestigious Spanish wine regions. By then, he had only a project, motivation, and conviction. His bordelaise experience contributed to creating a new style of wine with primary focus on the terroir and its soul to make wines of a strong personality: reds full of fruit and delicate touch of oak and fresh and lively whites and rosés. These wines marked a revolution in the 1970s. 

In a few years, Marqués de Cáceres gained international recognition with strong market positions in Europe, North and South America; the US being the central market of the companytotal exports. 

 

An Exceptional Leader 

Cristina was born and completed her education in France. She holds a Business and Administration BA- Finance & Accounting High degree. Christina first worked in Bordeaux, in the family properties (Château Larose Trintaudon and Château Camensac, Grand Cru Classé in the Haut-Médoc), as well as in the real estate business settled in Paris. In 1984, Christina moved to Rioja to join and develop the export markets of Marqués de Cáceres on her fatherrequest. She took over the company as the President after the retirement of her father in 2007. Currently, 50 percent of Marqués de Cáceres total production is exported to over 130 countries. 

 

Expanding Horizons to Lead the Industry  

At an institutional level, Marqués de Cáceres works to promote a high level of quality along with an added value, prestige, and image that allows the company to position Spanish wines in its deserved segment. 

At a national and international level, Marqués de Cáceres contributes to give dynamism to the winery sector and duly paid jobs. The company has a multitude of suppliers of all kinds to ensure its vinifications, the aging of its wines. Marqués de Cáceres production benefits from the wide distribution and has national collaborators and importers worldwide. The company tries to collaborate with the press to encourage and promote the different undertakings where it operates and the wines it produces.  

With other leading brands from diverse sectors and joining the Forum of Renowned Brands of Spain, the company contributes to promoting the brand Spain in the world. Eventually, the company is the ambassador of a vibrant national culture credited to its long tradition, gastronomy, innovation, creativity, and industrial drive. It would also highlight Marqués de Cáceres commitment to craftsmanship, which involves hand made products, thus enriching the production tasks that nurture the differentiation and the soul of its wines. 

Christina says it is a whole chain that also reverts to the national coffers since the Marqués de Cáceres parent company has its corporate name in Spain where it pays its direct and indirect taxes. 

 

Innovating Through Disruption 

Consumer these days takes more and more care of their food, lives more healthily and responsibly both socially and environmentally. Marqués de Cáceres mission is to share these social values to act and improve things.  

The company has responded at an environmental level by controlling natural resources such as water and energy by using cleaning systems with meters that consume less, rely only on renewable energy, purification of waste, and producing as little waste as possible.   

Corporative public liability is also fully considered by Marqués de Cáceres, through investments and creation of employment, maintenance of Jobs, care of their health (owing to the COVID effect), cooperation with NGOs, social commitment towards rural communities. 

Christina feels that digitization has shown a great benefit to all these processes and introduces new opportunities. It also brings improvement to Marqués de Cáceres figures for online sales and has allowed the company to streamline interactive communication and optimize resources that result in greater competitiveness.  

She says that the role of a leader is to adapt quickly to these changes and anticipate those that may come as a more assertive robotization policy that will have challenging social and economic effects. 

 

Radiating Vital Leadership Traits 

Shedding lights on essential leadership attributes, Christina believes that leaders always question themselves to bring dynamism and creativity to their business projects. They must define the business strategy and the necessary means to carry it out. They also need to motivate teams to innovate, create, meet objectives, and get each manager to work. 

Christina further opines that leaders must have the courage and humility to learn, observe, innovate, and think that “battles are won every day.” They should not let their guard down. And this requires determination, and in Christina’s case, passion for wine is the engine of her family project. 

 

Conquering Potential Challenges Strategically  

According to Christina, traveling all over the world has not been that easy. A person needs to be resistant and face different cultures, and for a woman, it would somewhat be difficult. 

She expresses that women need humility and psychology to understand that the important thing is to integrate, learn from others, and the local tradition to fulfill a professional career with bigger opportunities. She feels one needs the ambition to move forward with confidence and security in any business project. And for this, perhaps a woman needs more time. However, it allows her at the same time to consolidate her work with more incredible experience and attitude acquired in different situations. Ultimately, it is about demonstrating the professional capacity to organize, build, define short and long-term plans and execute them to meet business objectives. 

 

Invaluable Achievements that Define Success  

Marqués de Cáceres forged milestone achievements not only for the winery but the entire DOCa Rioja in the later part of the 20th Century. In the last decade, the company has expanded its quality vocation out of Rioja, across multiple wine regions, varietals and price points to respond to market opportunities. The Group also acquired its own vineyards in Rueda and Ribera del Duero, both top quality regions. In addition, Marqués de Cáceres is producing a white wine from the Albariño grape in the Rías Báixas region, a Garnacha red from the Cariñena region, and a Cava through a joint venture.  

2020 celebrates Marqués de Cáceres 50th Anniversary with new challenges, expansion, and a constant commitment to high quality, the terroir, and the market trends.  

Moreover, moving from Paris to Rioja in 1984, a rural area, has been a challenging decision and quite essential for Christina as she committed to ensuring the continuity of the family company.  

For many years, Christina has been traveling worldwide to develop existing markets and open new ones. Sales, marketing, and communication have settled the strength and the values of the companyactivity, consisting of the vinification and aging of fine wines. These activities and Marqués de Cáceres dynamism have played a pivotal role in ensuring a leading position in the major export markets. They have been a reference to sustain the launch of its wines in Spain in 1980, somewhat reluctant to their innovative style.   

These synergies, together with consistent quality, a long-term strategy, human efforts, and sacrifices, have gradually settled the success of the company. 

 

Envisioning the Future 

Speaking on the future journey, Christina says, Marqués de Cáceres has to consolidate the quality of its wines with a clear commitment to competitiveness. The company will further fulfill consumer expectations referring to their quality selection with the innovation and development of new products. As a family enterprise, the company focuses its efforts to be innovative, dynamic, and proactive. The company will also boost its communication as one of the instruments involved in being innovative and close to the consumer needs and expectations, working on strengthening its differentiation in a global market with a segmented offer and converging its efforts to be one of the major Spanish quality wines ambassadors. 

 

Essential Advice to Embryonic Business Leaders 

Christina believes that it is necessary to treat cybersecurity as a business decision. She advises key points to have a healthy cyber company, including: 

– Have the information you need to oversee cyber risks. 

– Have an effective cybersecurity strategy at addressing business risks. 

– Protect sensitive information handled and stored by third-party vendors. 

– Have cyber insurance. 

– Have the right data strategy to minimize cyber risks. 

– Stay current on the cyber threat landscape. 

– Have a tested cyber plan breach response plan.