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Nicola seemed to be pulling through, but unexpectedly, one day later he passed away at night in his hospital bed.

The family was told that most likely an internal bleed in the abdomen had gone undetected.

I did share with my father a deep admiration for the French, but not yet for their winemaking.

Angélica was a passionate educator, the headmaster at the local school in La Libertad, a town of less than 1,000 in the Mendoza countryside where Nicolás' Italian grandfather Nicola Catena had planted his first vineyard in 1902.

Nicolás had come to tell his mother that after high school he would pursue a degree in Physics.

Yet even Domingo, who like his Italian father Nicola was a great believer in the Mendoza wine growing region, did not think that any Argentine wine could ever compete with the great French wines.

But the Californians seemed convinced that technology could help them make up for lost time, and Nicolás headed back to Argentina with a mission.

The Californians had convinced him that the right technology, stainless steel and expensive French oak barrels held the secret to French wine quality.

Much of the advice centered around keeping the oxygen out, the opposite of the traditional oxidative Italian method that Nicolás had grown up with.

Two years later, Nicola and Angélica died in a tragic motor vehicle accident.

Angélica's unruly curls of thick black hair could only be tamed by a certain hairdresser in the nearby town of Rivadavia, and Nicola, her father in law, was her usual driver. Angélica died a few hours later of severe head injuries.

I was fascinated by the two seemingly contradictory forces of change within science - precision and wild experimentation - and my goal was to do something that would help alleviate suffering around the world.


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