Catena pioneers in high altitude wines

Catena Institute of wine celebrated its 20th anniversary as pioneer in high altitude wine production. Established in 1995, Argentina’s Catena Wine Institute (CIW) celebrated 20 years as a pioneer in high altitude viticulture.

The Catena family has been at the forefront of winemaking in Argentina since 1902 when Italian immigrant Nicola Catena planted his first Malbec vineyard in Mendoza.

The CIW is comprised of a team of researchers with expertise in soil and high altitude viticulture and winemaking and includes fourth generation vintner Dr. Laura Catena, chief winemaker and soils expert Alejandro Vigil and the Institute’s Excecutive Dr. laura Catena, daughter of South America wine pioneer Nicolas Catena Zapata, who has led the research and development department at the family’s winery since 1990. “My father dared to plant Malbec in our Adrianna vineyard at 4 757 feet elevationn where no one thought it would ripen,” said Dr. Caten. “There was some luck involved, a great deal of luck I would say, but my father’s intuition that sunlight intensity at a high altitude would make ripening of the high altitude wines possible was fortunately correct. Today with Catena Institute of Wine we have the opportunity to share that research to benefit our entire region.”

The Institute, in collaboration with the University of California Davis, recently published a comparative study in Food Chemistry on the Chemical and sensory composition of Malbec in both the northern and southern hemispheres (California and Argentina). The study adresses unanswered questions in the field of high altitude wines. Researchers wanted to know exactly how altitude makes a difference and how to vinify Malbec in high altitude conditions.