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Wente Vineyards

Livermore, CA

About

Celebrating its 135th anniversary in 2018, Wente Vineyards is the oldest, continuously operated family-owned winery in America. Now on their fifth generation as vintners, the Wente family’s contributions to the wine industry are innumerable. Chief among them has been a dedication to chardonnay. Today, roughly 80% of chardonnay vines in California are descended from the Wente’s original chardonnay block planted in 1908. UC Davis has categorized these descendants as the Wente Clones and the Wente Family is often honored as the “First Family of Chardonnay.” The winery is also a leader in sustainability, being one of the first wineries to receive the Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing designation in every aspect of its business in 2010. In 2011, Wente Family Estates was named American Winery of the Year by Wine Enthusiast.
The winery’s portfolio is diverse. Besides chardonnay, it includes cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, sauvignon blanc, sparkling wine, merlot, zinfandel, and riesling from the family’s vineyards throughout the Central Coast AVA. The Wente’s home estate – including its famed restaurant and Greg Norman-designed championship golf course - has always been in the heart of the Livermore Valley. The family’s urge to innovate expanded in the 1960s to Arroyo Seco, AVA in Monterey, California. This diverse collection of coveted vineyards allows 5th generationa winemaker Karl D. Wente to craft terroir-driven wines.
 
Carolyn Wente – Fourth Generation Winegrower and Chief Executive Officer
Carolyn Wente was born and raised in the Livermore Valley, but her tenacious quest to grow the Wente Family Estates has taken her around the world. A graduate of Stanford University, Carolyn stepped into the winery’s leadership team in 1977 alongside her brothers, Eric and Philip. Together, the fourth generation of winegrowers brought Wente Vineyards and the Livermore Valley to the attention wine consumers worldwide. This success is not only because of their insistence on ultra-premium wines, but the lifestyle and culinary experiences Carolyn brought to the Livermore estate and the wine industry at large by launching  a world-class restaurant, championship golf course and concert series. Carolyn’s love of fine cuisine has also driven her to publish two cookbooks.  She also served on the board of the California Wine Institute.
 
Eric P. Wente – Fourth Generation Winegrower, Chairman of the Board
Eric Wente has played a definitive role in bringing Wente Vineyards to the world both as Chairman of the Board and in his tenure as CEO. Doubling down on his family’s history of high-quality winemaking, Eric invested heavily into the construction of state-of-the-art facilities and winemaking equipment as CEO. Furthermore, he helped develop international distribution agreements that would introduce millions of consumers to Wente’s diverse portfolio. A graduate of Stanford University and the University of California at Davis, Eric has served on several of the Wine Institute’s boards, including being Chairman of the Board of Directors. Both of Eric’s children, Karl and Christine, are also leading members of the family business.
 
Philip R. Wente – Fourth Generation Winegrower, Vice-Chairman of the Board
For more than 25 years, Philip has led the operation, expansion, and constant improvement of the Wente Family Estate’s vineyards. He also leads land development and conservation, and helped establish the Tri-Valley Conservancy and land trust. Philip’s goal as head steward of his family’s vineyards has been sustainability. His innovative “Farming for the Future” program has redefined the ecology of winegrowing by minimalizing water use and allowing native cover crops to help balance the vineyard.  Philip is also co-founder of Murrieta’s Well, where he and founding former winemaker Sergio Traverso revived an estate with more than 135 years of grape-growing history. He has been involved in the leadership of the Wine Institute since 1977, served Chairman of the Board, and is serving today as an officer ex-officio. Philip’s daughter Niki works alongside him as Viticulture Supervisor of Wente Vineyards and daughter Jordan also has joined the team in a marketing/sales capacity.
 
Karl D. Wente – Fifth Generation Winegrower, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Winemaker
Responsible for all winemaking at Wente Vineyards, Karl has reaffirmed his family’s commitment to quality by relentlessly pursuing higher degrees of small-lot winemaking. A BA from Stanford University and two Master’s Degrees from the University of California at Davis prepared Karl to join the industry. After gaining experience at Peter Michael Winery in Sonoma, California and Brown Brothers Winery in Victoria, Australia, Karl joined Wente Vineyards in 2002 as the fifth generation to handcraft wines in the Livermore Valley. Along with his uncle Philip and cousin Niki in the vineyards, Karl is committed to sustainable practices that will protect his family’s lands for generations to come. Karl’s other great passion has been music and yoga both of which compliment his pursuit of creativity and expression.
 
Christine Wente – Fifth Generation Winegrower, President of the Wente Foundation Board
Christine was the first member of the Wente’s fifth generation to join the winery. From 2000 to 2007, save for a sabbatical to earn her MBA from Stanford University, Christine was selling and marketing Wente Vineyards wines around the world. She latter served as Senior Vice President of Hospitality, overseeing constant improvement in guest experiences on-site. Philanthropy has been her focus since helping establish The Wente Foundation for Arts Education in 2012. As President of the Foundation - and board member of the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Foundation, the Piedmont Education Foundation, and the Wine Institute – Christine champions causes related to education, the arts, poverty, and the industry which helps keep Livermore a vibrant community.
 
Niki Wente – Fifth Generation Winegrower, Viticulture Supervisor
Niki returned the family business in 2017 after studying viticulture at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and working in Grower Relations and Viticulture for Huneeus Vintners. Her work has exposed her to the best appellations across Northern and Central California. Practically raised in the vineyards by her father Philip, she has dedicated her life to preserving and improving the unique land her family has stewarded for 135 years.  

Jordan Wente – Fifth Generation Winegrower, Project Manager, Procurement
Jordan’s career at Wente Vineyards has involved her in supply chain management, custom & private label production, the renovation of family properties, and the establishment of the Wente Foundation for Arts Education. She is on the board of that foundation and the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association. She earned her BA at the University of Colorado at Boulder and earned an MBA from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Before returning to the family business in 2015, Jordan acted as Chief Operations Officer for the Californians Dedicated to Education Foundation.
 

Press Highlights

News Articles


Wente Vineyards Announces Fall Tasting & Tour Experiences

29 October, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Kimberly Charles  Charles Communications Associates 415.701.9463 | press@charlescomm.com   Wente Vineyards Announces Fall Tasting Room Experience Updates October 17, 2018    WHO:   Wente Vineyards, celebrating their 135th anniversary in 2018, is the country’s oldest, continuously operated family-owned winery. The winery, located in the historic Livermore Valley of Northern California has updated their lineup of tasting and touring experiences for the harvest and holiday seasons.   WHAT:   With harvest in full swing, Wente Vineyards has updated the availability of their wine and food experiences at both their properties in the Livermore Valley.  From introductory to immersive, these experiences will allow guests to see the winery in the midst of harvest and to taste through their diverse, award-winning portfolio.   Harvest Tour ($45 Guests, $30 for Members) The Harvest Tour will serve as an expanded Estate Winery Property Tour, since guests will be able to actually witness ‘crush’ live and in-person as grapes are brought in. The focus will be on the season’s harvest, the estate’s signature winemaking practices and how the wines achieve their high quality. Due to popular demand, additional dates and times have been added to the schedule. This in-depth tour is available Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.  Guests can call or reserve on Cellar Pass now. Note: This replaces the Estate Winery Tour temporarily during harvest season The Vineyard Property Tour ($35) This tour spans some of the most iconic markers of the Wente Vineyards property, taking guests from the Cork Tree through the Cabernet Franc Vineyard, the Tirage Room, the historic sandstone caves (subject to availability), the ½ acre organic garden, ending in the Vineyard Tasting Room to enjoy a tasting of Wente Vineyards wines.  Guests will leave the tour with a comprehensive understanding of the rich history, winemaking and sustainability measures of Wente Vineyards. Perfect for anyone who is new to the Wente story or fans looking for a deeper dive. Offered daily at 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Guests can call or reserve on CellarPass now. Journey Flight Tasting ($20) This tasting, centered around the story of the Wente Family’s passion-filled journey, is customizable by guests, who can now choose which five red and white wines they want to include in their flight (depending on availability & releases).  Available in The Vineyard Tasting Room, The Estate Tasting room and Winemakers Studio (reservations not required).  Seated tasting experiences at The Estate Tasting room (Starting at $25) available with reservations through CellarPass. The Vineyard Table lunch at The Restaurant ($65 for Guests,  $55 for Members) The Vineyard Table is a wine & food experience at The Restaurant that features a new three-course, wine-paired menu every month. Wente Vineyards’ small lot wines are chosen by Wine Director Jorge Tinoco, to pair with seasonal, locally-sourced dishes from the culinary team led by Executive Chef Mike Ward and Executive Pastry Chef Kayleigh Guyon. Available Friday - Sunday, 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. For Reservations, call (925) 456-2450 or reserve on OpenTable.  Sunday in The Caves ($45) This unique offering at the Wente Vineyards estate caves features cheeses by local cheesemakers The cheeses are thoughtfully paired with Wente Vineyards selections (and will also be available for take-home purchasing). Tours begin in the Vineyard Tasting Room. Offered Sundays only and to private groups by request. Guests can call or reserve on CellarPass now. WHEN:   All tours and experiences are available now except for the Estate Winery Property Tour, which is being temporarily replaced by the Harvest Tour.   WHERE:   Various locations at Wente Vineyards depending on experience (see above). The Estate Winery & Tasting Room:  5565 Tesla Road Livermore, CA 94550 The Winemakers Studio:  5565 Tesla Road Livermore, CA 94550 Vineyard Tasting Room:  5050 Arroyo Road, Livermore, CA 94550 The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards:  5050 Arroyo Road, Livermore, CA 94550 MORE: About Wente Vineyards:   Acknowledged for their industry-wide contributions to innovation, sustainability and hospitality, and known widely as California’s First Family of Chardonnay, Wente Vineyards is respected by both critics and consumers alike as a leader in crafting appealing, top quality, appellation-driven California wines. A wide array of initiatives and consumer events are planned for 2018 in celebration of the 135th anniversary, including the Make Time for Music & Wine event featuring Mat Kearney on October 27.   Check www.wentevineyards.com for more information and tickets.   CONTACT:  For information, www.wentevineyards.com   For media inquiries and interviews, please contact Charles Communications Associates at (415) 701-9463 or press@charlescomm.com
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Wente Vineyards Announces New Tasting & Tour Experiences

18 June, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Kimberly Charles CharlesCommunications Associates  415.701.9463 | press@charlescomm.com     WENTE VINEYARDS INTRODUCES NEW TASTING & TOUR EXPERIENCES AT HISTORIC LIVERMORE VALLEY WINERY June 18, 2018   WHO:   Wente Vineyards, the country’s oldest, continuously operated family-owned winery, announced a new lineup of tasting and touring experiences at the family’s historic Livermore Valley estate in honor of their 135th Anniversary this year.   WHAT:   A series of seven new tasting experiences that range from introductory to immersive, enabling Wente Vineyards' guests and members to choose from an array of bespoke options:   Journey Flight Tasting ($20 ~ 45-60 mins.) This tasting, centered around the story of the Wente Family’s passion-filled journey, is customizable by guests, who can now choose which five red and white wines they include in their flight (depending on availability & releases).  Available in The Vineyard Tasting Room, The Estate Tasting Room and Winemakers Studio (reservations not required).  Seated tasting experiences at The Estate Tasting Room (Starting at $25) available with reservations through CellarPass beginning June 25th.    Sunday in The Caves ($45 ~ 60-90 mins.) This unique offering in the Wente Vineyards estate caves features cheeses by local cheesemakers Nicolau Farms. Like the Wentes, the Nicolau family is also a multi-generational family-run company, with similarly sustainable farming practices. The cow and goat cheeses will be thoughtfully paired with Wente Vineyards selections (and will also be available for take-home purchasing). Tours begin in the Vineyard Tasting Room. Offered Sundays only or to private groups by request. Guests can call or reserve on CellarPass beginning June 25th.   The Vineyard Property Tour ($35 ~ 60-90 mins.) The Property Tour spans some of the most iconic markers of the Wente Vineyards property, taking guests from the Cork Tree through the Cabernet Franc Vineyard the Tirage, the historic sandstone caves (subject to availability), the ½ acre garden and ending in the Vineyard Tasting Room while tasting Wente Vineyards wines.  Guests will leave the tour with a comprehensive understanding of the rich history, winemaking, and sustainability measures of Wente Vineyards. Perfect for anyone who is new to the Wente Vineyards story or fans looking for a deeper dive. Offered daily at 11AM and 1PM. Guests can call or reserve on CellarPass beginning June 25th.   The Estate Winery Property Tour ($35 ~ 45-60 mins.) The Estate Winery Property Tour is for guests hoping to learn more about the technical winemaking behind their favorite Wente Vineyards wines. The tour will commence at the Estate Tasting Room with an overview at the Winemakers Studio and continue on to a behind-the-scenes tour of the crush pad, Small Lot Room, Barrel Room and end in the Nth Degree Lounge while tasting Wente Vineyards wines. Available Monday - Friday 11:30AM & 2:30PM; Saturday - Sunday 11:30AM.  Guests can call or reserve on CellarPass now.   Harvest Tour ($45 ~ 45-60 mins.) A must during harvest season! The Harvest Tour will serve as an expanded Estate Winery Property Tour from August through late October, since guests will be able to actually witness ‘crush’ live and in-person as grapes are brought in. The focus will be on the season’s harvest, the estate’s signature winemaking practices and how the wines achieve their high quality. Guests can call or reserve on Cellar Pass beginning June 25th   Vineyard Tour & Dinner ($135 ~ 2.5-3 hrs.) An educational tour where guests can take The Livermore Wine Trolley deep into the estate’s most premium Nth Degree vineyard vines, with tastings along the way and a full catered dinner at the end. Guests will start at the Winemakers Studio before the trolley transports them behind the Estate Property and into the vineyards and olive grove. Dinner is at the Winemakers Studio (which is magically transformed into a dinner venue during the vineyard tour). Vineyard Tour & Dinner Dates: July 14, August 11, and September 15. Guests will be able to reserve on Cellar Pass or call The Winemakers Studio now.   The Vineyard Table at The Restaurant ($55 Club Members/$65 guests ~ 90 mins.) Lunch at The Vineyard Table, a new wine & food experience at The Restaurant. Enjoy a three-course wine and food journey, showcasing Wente Vineyards’ small lot wines chosen by Jorge Tinoco, Wine Director, and ingredient-driven dishes from the culinary team led by Executive Chef Mike Ward and Executive Pastry Chef Kayleigh Guyon. Available Friday - Sunday, 11:30AM - 2PM. For reservations, call (925) 456-2450 or reserve on OpenTable now.    WHEN:   Journey Flight Tasting and The Estate Winery Tour are available now.  The Vineyard Property Tour, Sundays in The Caves, and Vineyard Tour & Dinner experiences will be offered starting in July.  Harvest Tours will be given throughout harvest, approximately August through late October.   WHERE:   Various locations at Wente Vineyards depending on experience (see above). The Estate Winery & Tasting Room:  5565 Tesla Road Livermore, CA 94550 The Winemakers Studio:  5565 Tesla Road Livermore, CA 94550 Vineyard Tasting Room:  5050 Arroyo Road, Livermore, CA 94550 The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards:  5050 Arroyo Road, Livermore, CA 94550     MORE:    Acknowledged for their industry-wide contributions to innovation, sustainability and hospitality, and known widely as California’s First Family of Chardonnay, Wente Vineyards is respected by both critics and consumers alike as a leader in crafting appealing, top quality, appellation-driven California wines. A wide array of initiatives and consumer events are planned for 2018 in celebration of the 135th anniversary, including an impressive lineup of artists for their Summer Concert Series.   Check www.wentevineyards.com for more information and tickets.     CONTACT:  For information, www.wentevineyards.com   For media inquiries and interviews, please contact Charles Communications Associates at (415) 701-9463 or press@charlescomm.com               ###
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Wente Vineyards Celebrates 135th Anniversary in 2018

6 March, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contacts: Kimberly Noelle Charles or  Alexandra Fondren Charles Communications Associates 415.701.9463 | press@charlescomm.com                                  Wente Vineyards Celebrates 135th Anniversary in 2018   LIVERMORE VALLEY, CA – March 2, 2018 – Wente Vineyards, the country’s oldest, continuously operated family-owned winery has achieved another benchmark, as 2018 marks the celebrated company’s 135th year. Acknowledged for their industry-wide contributions to innovation, sustainability and hospitality, and known widely as California’s First Family of Chardonnay, Wente Vineyards is respected by both critics and consumers alike as a leader in crafting appealing, top quality, appellation-driven California wines.    The 135th year kicked off in January with an open letter to wine club members and fans from Carolyn Wente, Fourth Generation Winegrower & CEO, wherein she commemorated her family’s “love of the journey;” honoring the rich history of the 100% estate-grown vineyards while celebrating the Fifth Generation family vintners who are leading Wente Vineyards into the future.   Carolyn stated, “I am so very proud of the Fifth Generation of our family—Christine, Karl, Jordan and Niki—for choosing to join the business and driving to create some of the best quality wines that we’ve ever grown.  The innovations they have spearheaded have been invaluable, and include our renewed focus on the small lot farming program, not to mention countless technological upgrades in both vineyard and cellar, resulting in some of the best wines we’ve ever made at Wente Vineyards.  We also would not be here today without the hard work and commitment of our entire family of team members that, over the many years, continues to pour passion into every aspect of their work. We have loved every step of the journey that has led us to this 135th anniversary, and we look forward to the next 135 years continuing our restless pursuit of excellence, and bringing people together over our shared love of wine and the Livermore Valley lifestyle.”   In 1883, Carolyn’s great grandfather, C.H. Wente, purchased 47 acres in the Livermore Valley. He and the ensuing generations of his family are credited with establishing the Wente Clone of Chardonnay (over 80% of today’s California Chardonnays are derived from this Wente clone), releasing California’s first varietally labeled wines in 1933, pioneering the Arroyo Seco winegrowing region in Monterey in 1963, and being the first to offer the range of wine country experiences that have now come to define the estate’s special brand of hospitality, which include award-winning dining at The Restaurant, an Audubon Certified, Greg Norman-designed championship golf coursehistoric tasting rooms and tours, Winemakers Studio educational tasting seminars, Orbitz’s 2018 #1 “Best Place to Get Married” in California, and concerts that have featured headliners like Ray Charles and Colbie Caillat.   A wide array of initiatives and consumer events are planned for 2018 in celebration of the 135th anniversary:   135th Anniversary Dinner and Dancing Under the Stars A memorable evening celebration, toasting to 135 years over dinner, topped with a wonderful night of dancing under the autumn stars.   Spring and Fall Winemaker Dinners Intimate dinner celebrations hosted by Fifth Generation Winegrower Karl D. Wente and Executive Chef Jeff Farlow.   Dedicated Online Promotions Online wine specials and limited-time shipping discounts throughout the year, such as $1.35 shipping.   135th Celebratory Chardonnay Special Release A limited release of a special “Celebratory Chardonnay” will be released to commemorate the 135th anniversary, available DTC and in limited market distribution. The Chardonnay will feature a vintage label design, and 500 bottles will be signed by the Wente family.   Win the Ultimate Wine Country Experience with Wente Vineyards  Running from March 1, 2018 through June 30, 2018, this text-to-win national sweepstakes will award one lucky winner a trip for two to enjoy the full Wente Vineyards experience. The package includes round-trip airfare (Wente Vineyards is a quick 50 minutes from San Francisco), a stay in the cottage, breakfast at The Grill, a round of golf at The Course at Wente Vineyards, concert tickets, educational classes at Winemakers Studio and more. Text “WENTE” to 24587 and enter to win or visitwww.wvwinesweeps.com. Must be 21+ to enter.   About Wente Vineyards  Founded in 1883, Wente Vineyards is the oldest continuously-operated, family-owned winery in the country, now owned and managed by the fourth and fifth generations of the Wente family. The winery draws from certified sustainable Estate vineyards in the Livermore Valley, San Francisco Bay and Arroyo Seco, Monterey appellations to create an outstanding portfolio of fine wines. Wente Vineyards is distributed in all 50 states and in over 70 countries worldwide.  In 2010, joined the top 2% of California wineries who meet all three tiers within the Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing codes & designation. In 2011, Wente Family Estates was named American Winery of the Year by Wine Enthusiast and a top 30 wine company by Wine Business Monthly. 2012 marked the 100th anniversary of the Wente family bringing Chardonnay cuttings to California from France. Today, the Wente clone of Chardonnay is the most widely planted in California.   Located just east of San Francisco in the historic Livermore Valley, Wente Vineyards is recognized as one of California’s premier wine country destinations. The property features wine tasting, world-class concerts, award-winning fine dining and championship golf. For more information, visit www.wentevineyards.com.   For press inquiries and images, please contact Kimberly Noelle Charles or Alexandra Fondren at Charles Communications Associates at press@charlescomm.com or 415.701.9463.   ###
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