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Catena zapata

The headquarters of the winery is located near Junin, about 100 kilometres southeast of the provincial capital Mendoza in the Agrelo sub-region of Argentina. The roots of the family empire (as well as those of Gallo and Mondavi) are in the Italian Marche region. There Nicola Catena was born as the son of vineyard workers and emigrated to Argentina in 1898. Here, in 1902, he planted his first vineyard with Malbec(Cot) in the province of Mendoza and began producing wines for the local market. Son Domingo Catena (+1989) continued the work and expanded the property, making the company the most successful and largest in Argentina and (besides Peñaflor) one of the largest wine companies in the world. In 2019, the winery finished 5th in the World's Best Vineyards competition.

Domingo's oldest son Nicolás studied business administration and took over the company in 1963. He named it after his grandfathers "Catena Zapata". In 1982 he was a visiting professor at the Institute of Agricultural Economics at the University of California. There, during a visit to Mondavi in the Napa Valley, he was motivated to pursue quality-oriented viticulture. After returning to Argentina, he started a research project in 1983 to determine the best growing areas in terms of microclimate and soil type for European varieties. Strict management was introduced for the artificial irrigation, which is essential in Argentina.

In addition to the sophisticated irrigation, a careful selection of suitable vine clones from Italy, France and California for the conditions in Mendoza and a consequent limitation of yields was carried out. These measures resulted in considerable improvements in grape quality. The first wines were brought onto the market in 1991. Nicolás' daughter Laura joined the company in 1998. In 2001, the Tikal Winery, architecturally similar to a Mayan pyramid, was opened in the Agrelo zone at the foot of the Andes. The research and development department "Catena Institute" has been managed by Fernando Buscema since 2007.

The vineyards cover a total of about 500 hectares of vineyards in the province of Mendoza. They are called Adrianna (after Nicolá's mother), Angélica (after Nicolá's daughter), Domingo (Nicolá's father), La Pirámide (architectural style of the winery) and Nicasia (Nicolá's great-grandmother). The main varieties are Chardonnay, as well as the red wine varieties Malbec(Cot), Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The wines are produced under the brand names Angélica Zapata, Catena Zapata, D.V. Catena, Saint Felicien and Nicasia Vineyards (Argentina), as well as Catena Zapata, Catena Alta (site wines from old vines) and Catena (international). The red wines mature for two years in around 5,000 barriques, the white wines up to twelve months. Laura Catena has been producing its own wines under the Luca brand since 1999. With the French company Domaines Barons de Rothschild S.A. there is the joint venture Bodegas Caro in Mendoza. There are holdings in the Escorihuela and La Rural wineries.

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