Laura Catena may have one of the most unique resumes that you’d ever come across. Regarded as the face of Argentine wine, Catena presides at the helm of her family’s lauded winery Bodega Catena Zapata, which laid the foundations for the country’s wine to be recognized at the level of its European counterparts. She is also the founder of the Catena Institute of Wine, which focuses on science-driven ways to support and showcase Argentina’s winemaking regions. And, until recently, Catena had worked as an emergency room physician in San Francisco, a job she held concurrently with her wine-related roles.
On the surface, one might think there are few similarities between the responsibilities of a doctor and vintner. Yet, as part of the conversation featured in this episode, Catena explained that her professions intersect in ways that make her better in both roles and allow her to provide more effective care to her patients and craft exceptional wine. We further explored this dynamic in our interview and also delved into Catena Zapata’s history and scientific approach to winemaking. Catena also explained why she feels a heavy responsibility of carrying the whole country of Argentina on her shoulders, why she believes that it is critical to “really listen to people who disagree with you” and discussed her passion for achieving sustainability through innovation.
In this Episode
|0:44: Interview: Laura Catena, Managing Director, Bodega Catena Zapata — Taste Radio editor Ray Latif sat down with Catena for an expansive interview in which she discussed how she is supporting workers at her family’s winery in Argentina via telemedicine during the Covid crisis, the origins of Bodega Catena Zapata and why her father was inspired by American winemakers and discussed how malbec has been the key to Argentina’s ascendance in the global wine industry. She also spoke about why she was initially hesitant to join the family business and chose to study and practice medicine instead, how wine transformed her home province of Mendoza into a thriving region and how Catena Zapata’s rise to international recognition was supported by its focus on science and research about Argentina’s climate and soil. Later, she explained how the winery succeeded by winning “hearts and minds,” and why it’s so important to “understand how nature works so that we can preserve it.”|