In 1898, Nicolas Catena’s grandfather immigrated to Argentina, from Marche region Italy, leaving the famine in Europe for a new land. He planted his 1st Malbec in 1902 in Mendoza.
Early 1980s, Nicolás left Argentina to become a visiting professor of economics at the University of California.
California and especially Napa Valley were an inspiration to Nicolás and his wife Elena, who spent weekends visiting the area with their youngest daughter Adrianna in a backpack. Until that time, no one in the new world had dreamed of rivaling France. Nicolás Catena returned to Mendoza with a vision in mind. From one day to the other, he sold his table wine producing company, keeping only Bodegas Esmeralda, the fine wine branch of the family business. At that time Argentina was perceived as a bulk wine producer and Nicolás was told by many of his colleagues in Argentina that he was completely crazy: results say he wasn’t.