We’ve been honing the concept of Grand Cata since the summer of 2011, when two best friends decided to leave their desk jobs behind and turn their passion for Latino heritage, gastronomy and wine into a full-time job. As first-time business owners with humble beginnings, we’ve had to learn everything first-hand from writing our business plan, to navigating the financial landscape, to securing a storefront. Despite our share of bumps along the way, nothing has been able to stop us from opening the doors of Grand Cata because there are so many things that keep us going. Here are the Latino Wine Company’s top four inspirations:
The strength behind Grand Cata is our family, friends, and community; not only here in Washington, but also back home in Chile and Puerto Rico. Those who are far away mean everything to us, and they are part of our daily inspiration to achieve success in our personal and professional lives. Our perseverance is dedicated to them and their support, which has made us stronger, better people, and better business owners.
At the same time, we are inspired by the vibrancy of our adopted home in DC, the people who care for us and support us here – our new family. We are proud to be part of the diverse urban fabric in historic Shaw and hope to share a sense of family with all who visit our store. At Grand Cata, all are welcome to celebrate Latin America with us: hear our music, taste our wines, savor our cuisine, and enjoy life's simple pleasures in a casual neighborhood atmosphere.
We are blessed to share in a culture that traces itself all across the world. Few identities are as inclusive as what it means to be Latino/Latina/Latinx. We come in every shade of skin and speak many tongues. While the origins of this can point to a complicated history of conquest, today we must take this as an opportunity to recognize and celebrate each part of the unique blend of Indigenous, African, European, and Asian influences in our traditions, folklore, expressions, art, and language. Whether you are perfectly bilingual, trilingual, speak with an accent like us, or still getting around to learning Spanish from your neighbors or your abuelos, we invite you to learn more about centuries of history with us through wine and gastronomy, and getting to know each other better in the process.
We have spent the past four years crafting our concept, tasting or catando many products, continuously learning, and gaining new experiences in order to create the best representation of our region and ourselves in the nation’s capital. We are reminded of the words of Spanish chef and Think Food Group president José Andrés, a fellow immigrant and one of our role models in the local and international food community:
"As immigrants, we understand better than most that to be an American is a privilege that conveys not just rights but responsibilities […] to enrich the American mosaic with our unique cultures, traditions, and ideas.” - José Andrés, in his 2014 op-ed calling for immigration reform.
The United States is a land of opportunity, but immigrants from all over the world know that sometimes more sweat and tears than average are required to make our dreams come true in life. With hard work and imagination, we are following the example of those before us by daring ourselves to step into the unknown each day. We’ve earned our way to where we are by working our way up, with our passion and aspiration lighting the way. All the positive energy and experiences we’ve acquired, we want to give back and share with you and our community.
Grand Cata's final inspiration is – you guessed it – wine. Yes, the holy fermented juice. It flows through our veins (at responsible levels). Every bottle is a work of art that contains stories of geography, chemistry, climate, expression, tradition, and a sense of place, no matter how small or far – from every microclimate between the Rio Grande and Patagonia – and European heritage nations including Spain, Portugal, and Italy. Make wine part of your everyday ritual with us and be prepared to hear these stories and more at Grand Cata!