Gold in the Vineyards – Illustrated Stories


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Gold in the Vineyards highlights the true stories of love, family, betrayal, and war at the origin of twelve of the world’s most famous vineyards. These charmingly illustrated stories tell us about the founders and creators of the vineyards and their wines.

Gold in the Vineyards is enchanting, enhancing, insightful and delightful, for Laura Catena has stepped through the looking glass to these estates to give us wonderland.

– Steven Spurrier, Journalist Behind the 1976 Judgement of Paris

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More About This Wine

Gold in the Vineyards is the winner of the prestigious 2020 Gourmand Award for Best in the World Wine History Book.

Wine insider and fourth-generation vintner Dr. Laura Catena’s Gold in the Vineyards highlights the true stories of some of the world’s most famous vineyards. She brings us tales of love, family, betrayal, and war at twelve of the world’s most storied vineyards.

A Wine Journey in Pictures

The book is full of detailed maps, infographics, and stylish illustrations. These details carry the reader through wine history and into the details of the vineyard. Dive into soil and climate (terroir) to understand what creates excellent wine.

Gold in the Vineyards is organized by country and producer. Each chapter of the book tells the story of a wine. Finish up with maps of the region, vineyard, and illustrated factoids about the wine’s rise to fame.

Meet the Families of Gold in the Vineyards

  • First, you meet the Rothschild family. Once prisoners of war, they now helm the “First of Firsts,” Château Lafite Rothschild. Learn why a bottle of the 1787 vintage sold for $160,000 US dollars. Or why the Maréchal de Richelieu believed that drinking Château Lafite was the secret to eternal youth.
  • Next, head down to Italy to meet the Antinori family. This vineyard is under female leadership for the first time in 25 generations. Learn about the connection between the Antinoris and the murderous Pietro de Medici.
  • Then travel to Spain to meet María José Lépez de Heredia of Viña Tondonia. This family, known for aging their wine in barrel for 10-20 years more than anyone else.
  • Meet Bill Harlan, an adventurer, and real estate mogul. His 200-year plan is to make a Grand Cru and create a European-style wine dynasty in America.
  • Experience the magic from the old vines of the Henschke family. The family fled religious persecution in Prussia. Then they founded Australia’s most celebrated vineyard, Hill of Grace.
  • Dive into the dream of farmer boy Etienne Guigal. He created one of France’s most collected wines. He did so with hard work and passionate devotion to winemaking.
  • Finally, read the story of Dr. Laura Catena’s family, Italian immigrants to Argentina. They discovered a magical new place for wine, the high altitudes of the Andes mountains. Their wine made Malbec famous around the world.

Learn About the Land and Methods

  • Learn about the French wine classification system and Château d’Yquem. It is the only Premier Cru Superieur, a wine made from pourriture noble or noble rot. Additionally, their grapes are harvested only by women.
  • Travel back to the 18th Century. Witness the fight between a Prince and a Marquise, for the ownership of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. Meet current owner Aubert de Villaine. He spearheaded the effort to turn the Burgundy wine region into a World Heritage Site.
  • Hike the hills of the Mosel in Germany. Learn why its slate soils yield some of the most age-worthy wines in the world.
  • Understand biodynamic winemaking through the eyes of the late Anne-Claude Leflaive. Her work inspired generations of winemakers to stop using pesticides in their vineyards.
  • Defy the norms with Italian winemaker Angelo Gaja and his daughter Gaia Gaja. Together they brought about a renaissance for Italy’s Barolo region and Nebbiolo.

About Dr. Laura Catena

A Harvard and Stanford trained biologist and physician, Dr. Laura Catena was born into one of the world’s great wine families. Laura became obsessed with understanding the most collected wines in the world. She first published Argentina’s definitive wine guide, Vino Argentino (Chronicle Books, 2010). Gold in the Vineyards is Dr. Catena’s second book. An exploration of the history, circumstances, and vineyard details of the world’s most iconic wines.

Gold in the Vineyards is the Culmination of 25 Years of Research

Gold in the Vineyards is the result of 25 years of Laura’s research into wine history. In that time, she interviewed and met with the world’s best-known wine families. As well as dug deep into vineyard studies at the Catena Institute of Wine, she founded in 1995. The Grape Collective recognized Laura Catena as one of 25 top wine innovators. She spoke at Wine Spectator’s New York Wine Experience, the Nantucket Food and Wine Festival, the Naples Winter Wine Festival, the MUST Summit, the Master of Wine Symposium, the American Society of Wine Educators, the Decanter Fine Wine Encounter in London and Shanghai, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Vancouver Playhouse, among others.

Read More From Dr. Catena 

She has appeared in Oprah magazine as one of the World’s Top Women Vintners. Her work has been featured in The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal, Food & Wine Magazine, Decanter, and The Economist 1843 magazine, among others. She has a robust social media following on Instagram (@LauraCatenaMD) and Twitter (@lauracatena).

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