The Buyer
Wine Future: Laura Catena makes a case for alcohol moderation

Wine Future: Laura Catena makes a case for alcohol moderation

It is nearly 25 years since the first Wine Future looked to address the big issues facing the wine industry at its inaugural event in Rioja in 2009. In November the fourth Wine Future is set to take place in Coimbra in Portugal where many the issues discussed all those years ago are still as relevant today. To help set the scene for what to expect The Buyer over the coming weeks is interviewing many of the keynote speakers set to take part starting today with Dr Laura Catena, managing director at Catena Zapata, one of Argentina’s and the world’s most influential wine producers.

Richard Siddle
8th August 2023by Richard Siddle
posted in Conference,

Dr Laura Catena is one of a number of leading wine figure taking part and starting their insights at Wine Future in Coimbra between November 7-9. To find out more about the event and register click here.

Can I ask why you want to be involved in Wine Future?

Because it is important that as an industry we become involved in everything related to the future of wine, from climate change to regulations and education around drinking in moderation.

What do you hope the event can achieve for the wider wine industry?

Dr Laura Catena says she wants to be part of the global discussion taking part at Wine Future and share her insights as a doctor in to the benefits of drinking wine, but also the importance of alcohol moderation

I want to bring to the trade and end consumer the real data on wine and health. There are strong prohibitionist movements out there and I want the end consumer to have the right information needed to make a wise decision about their wine consumption. There is a reason why wine has lasted as a human beverage for 6,000 years: it’s delicious and brings joy. But it can also cause harm and consumers need to understand what moderation means and what are the possible harms involved in drinking too much wine and alcohol in general.

What is the theme of your talk and why have you chosen that topic?

The theme is wine and health. I want to share the positive – cardiovascular benefit trends in population studies for moderate drinking – and the negative – cancer risk and alcoholism.

As a major wine producer what do you see as being the biggest challenges the wine industry is facing?

There are three:

  • Water shortage.
  • Our farming culture is being threatened by city living.
  • Prohibitionist agendas.

What do you see as the big outstanding opportunities and how do you see the industry capitalisng on them?

Wine is delicious and makes us happy. And in moderation, especially for those with cardiovascular risk (all people above age 50) there are more benefits than negatives when it is consumed in moderation. We need to understand the science and data behind the topic of wine and health so that we can make informed decisions.

What do you think have been the biggest milestones and big step changes in the wine industry in the last 10 years?

Dr Laura Catena celebrates Catena Zapata being named the number one vineyard in the world in the World’s Best Vineyard Awards

Globalisation. Today one can find wine from anywhere. Exports have revived wine industries in many countries. And local consumption as well as wine tourism are growing.

Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future of the wine industry in the next 10 years – and why?

Very optimistic. Wine is art: every bottle and every vintage is different. We can taste our way through the world in a bottle of wine. Wine is the most interesting and diverse food that we consume. t’s been around for over 6,000 years. A meal with wine is at least three times better than a meal without wine: I am quoting my American husband.

What do you most enjoy about working in the sector?

The people who work at our winery in Argentina and becoming friends with the vines and their environment. Also the wonderful people I meet around the world while representing Argentine wine.

What do you find frustrating and would like to change about the wine industry?

Snobbery, or people who think that only one part of the world makes the best wines.

Any individuals or businesses you most admire for what they do and why?

Family wineries. Wine requires a lot of long-term investment and that is why I think that families make the best wines. I admire all the families that have managed to keep their winemaking traditions going for many generations.

  • Dr Laura Catena will be taking part in a session “How and why wine could be the healthiest alcononic beverage” moderated by Wine Business Monthly’s Cyril Penn on November 8 at 11.30am.

Wine Future 2023 – Coimbra November 7-9

Wine Future 2023 promises to be the leading event in the world to tackle the biggest challenges facing the global wine industry and what steps its stakeholders need to be taking and focusing on to succeed in the future.

It is the fourth Wine Future event to take place following other editions first in Rioja in 2009, Hong Kong in 2011, Wine Future Virtual 2021 and Green Wine Future in 2022. Founder Pancho Campo claims the ambition and overall goal for Wine Future has not changed since 2009 when, in the middle of an economic crisis, it looked to assess its impact and offer solutions and inspiration to everyone involved in the global wine industry.

Close to 25 years later and the world is again facing huge financial difficulties, rampant inflation, a global climate emergency and a declining wine market in most major wine consuming countries. It is against that backdrop that Wine Future hopes to make a difference.

Key themes to be addressed at this November’s conference include:

  • Engaging new consumers – particularly Generation Z and Millennials.
  • The impact of global economic uncertainty, especially inflation.
  • The opportunities of greater diversity, equity and inclusion in the wine industry.
  • How we can reach new audiences and better engage with existing wine drinkers through celebrity endorsements, influencers, and working with major international music and sporting events.
  • The use of digital marketing and social media to gain a new consumers.
  • Using new technologies to improve sales.
  • What can we learn from the competition from alternative beverages?
  • The human impact of sustainability.

Key wine figures lined up to take part and share their insights and hopefully offer inspiration to the sector are: Emma Bertrand, Rob McMillan, Sonal Holland MW, Ian Ford, Adrian Bridge, Frederico Falcao, Martin Reyes MW, Robert Joseph, Dirceu Viana MW, Siobhan Turner MW, Natalie Wang, Alder Yarrow, Stephen Wong MW, Ulf Sjodin MW, Michael Wangbickler and Paul Schaafsma.

The event will also hear from inspirational figures from outside the industry including: Sir Christopher Pissarides, awarded the Nobel Economy price in 2020; the Secretary General of the UN International Youth Organization, Max Trejo; and the lead singer of Iron Maiden and entrepreneur Bruce Dickinson.