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Dr. Laura Catena wins the first Old Vine Hero Award

Published:  20 March, 2023

The co-founders of The Old Vine Conference announced the winner of the first Old Vine Hero Award last week, during a ceremony in London.

Dr. Laura Catena accepted the award for her longstanding commitment to promoting and protecting the future of Old Vine Malbec in Argentina.

The award also recognised Catena’s work at the Catena Institute, preserving massale and clonal selections of Argentine pre-phylloxeric malbec.

Established to recognise the dedication of those working with old vines, the Old Vine Hero Award received 85 nominations from 15 different countries. The nominations were narrowed down to a shortlist of eight Old Vine Heroes considered to be making the greatest contribution to the old vine movement.

“The entries were remarkable for their geographical range, from Armenia to South Africa, and also for the huge diversity of people that were nominated, from winegrowers cultivating tiny vineyards to CEOs managing huge estates, from farmers to academics, from complete unknowns to iconic figures in the wine world,” said Tamlyn Currin, Old Vine Hero Award judge, sustainability editor and staff writer at

“But more than anything, I was struck by the passion behind the entries – the people nominating their heroes really believed in the work their heroes are doing. I saw a depth of awareness and genuine care that was very moving. Just reading the entries was very rewarding and inspiring for me personally. I wanted to give everyone the award,” Currin added.

“Opening the award up to a vote has empowered the global wine community to actively participate in the old vine conversation. Each vote has helped to raise awareness, understanding and appreciation of some of the most inspiring and valuable work being done to nurture old vines around the world,” said Sarah Abbott MW, co-founder, The Old Vine Conference

Catena will be invited to speak about her work with old vines at The Old Vine Conference 2023 taking place virtually between 19-20 October.

“When I started working in wine in the 1990’s, it seemed like Old Vines were mostly valued in Europe,” said Catena 

“Then I found that we had thousands of hectares of old Malbec vines in Argentina which were in the process of being pulled out for replanting. I am an emergency doctor by training, and I can recognise an emergency when I see one. I set out to make wine from these beautiful old vineyards and then to preserve their genetically diverse massale selections. The Our Old Vines conference has done so much to increase awareness of Old Vines around the world, and I am extremely grateful for their work and to be receiving the Old Vine Hero Award,” added Catena.