Nicolás Catena honoured for services to Argentine wine

Mendoza pioneer Nicolás Catena has been honoured for his work in bringing Argentine wine to the world stage.

L-R: Ramon Puerta (Argentina’s Spanish ambassador), Nicolas Catena Zapata, Valentin Diaz Gilligan (Argentine presidential undersecretary) and Gustavo Santos (Argentine tourism minister)

The 76-year-old owner of Bodega Catena Zapata in Mendoza was awarded the Marca País Prize on 22 January at the Argentine ambassador’s residence in Madrid. The ceremony took place during the Madrid Fusion 2017 international gastronomy congress.

The Marca País Prize honours Argentinians who made an important contribution to elevating the country to the top ranks in their respective fields. The prize covers the fields of tourism, culture, investment and international trade.

Catena (full name Nicolás Catena Zapata) was one of the first winemakers to introduce European winemaking techniques to Argentina and pioneered Malbec and vine-growing at high altitudes in the country. He was recognised for his tireless efforts as a pioneer of Argentine wine, with a particular emphasis on his role in establishing Argentine Malbec as one of the most respected wines in the world.

Receiving his award from the Argentine tourism minister at the prestigious ceremony in Madrid, Catena said: “I accept this award in the name of my family and on behalf of all of the hardworking and dedicated people that have worked in our vineyards throughout these decades of change, challenge and research.

“I am also proud to accept it in the name of Mendoza, Argentina – a wine-growing region that is producing great wines for the world. Our focus has been on ensuring that our wines reflect the terroir of our beautiful country, encompassing its climate, geography and geology, as well as its cuisine.”

Founded in 1902, Bodega Catena Zapata has become Argentina’s best-known winery, and is widely acknowledged for having set new quality standards for Argentine wine. The winery’s commitment to high-altitude, cool-climate grape-growing has resulted in a range of top-tier wines that have cemented its reputation throughout the global wine industry.

Scientific research conducted by the Catena Institute of Wine has led to important viticultural advances in topics ranging from Malbec plant selection to investigating methods to counteract the effects of global warming.

Wines from Catena Zapata accompanied the renowned Argentine ‘asado’ chef Francis Mallmann’s ‘7 Fires Show’ at the Madrid Fusion event. Mallmann was himself honoured with a Marca País Prize for his culinary and cultural contributions to Argentina.

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