In “High Hopes in the Andes,” in The Economist 1843, the new bi-monthly culture magazine of The Economist, writer Dan Rosenheck provides an in-depth report of the origins of the Catena Institute of Wine (CIW) at BODEGA CATENA ZAPATA and how the estate has grown to be one of the top researching wineries in the world. While the vision behind the scientific pursuits of the Institute rests in the hands of Laura Catena, the aspiration to create Argentine grand crus was born from her father, Nicolás Catena, who continually benchmarked his wines against the top producers in Bordeaux and California.
Today, the Institute has become a leading research and development organization and its focus on the unique terroir of the Adrianna vineyard in Mendoza has shed much light on the many attributes—elevation, sunlight, and soil microbes—which bring Bodega Catena Zapata closer to understanding the full potential of the Argentine wine region. “The science tells me that we should be able to make wines here that are extraordinary,” says Laura. “We have the conditions: a cool climate, nice winds, poor, shallow well-drained soils, and the sunlight.” The conditions exist, but finding that franja, Spanish for a little “strip” of land, where all these attributes sing in harmony is the missing piece. “I think that somewhere within that high-altitude heaven there is a franja,” Laura says. “If I find that piece of land, and if we make that one wine, it would change the history of my country.”