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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 Releases 2017 Grenache Syrah Mourvedre (GSM) in Partnership with Local Bay Area Artist, Lisa Elley

1 May, 2019

  Wente Vineyards Releases 2017 Grenache Syrah Mourvedre (GSM)  in Partnership with Local Bay Area Artist, Lisa Elley    LIVERMORE VALLEY, CA – May 1, 2019 – Just in time for Spring, Wente Vineyards is proud to launch the first of their 2017 Artist Series red blends featuring original art by local Bay Area Artist, Lisa Elley. 2010 marked the first vintage of the Wente Vineyards Artist Series, connecting winemaking to art, a natural collaboration. Today, the family continues the Artist Series program, partnering with one local artist each year, developing a series of four pieces to showcase across the estates’ unique red wine blends: GSM, Serenity, Sonata and Duetto. The 2017 vintage spotlights local award-winning Bay Area artist, Lisa Elley, who brings her colorful and vibrant palette knife paintings to life on each label. Lisa’s mindful nature is apparent in her paintings: "My intention with the Wente Vineyards GSM label was to evoke an emotion that would combine the notes of the wine to create a memorable and beautiful experience. I wanted the label to be super colorful and joyous, while capturing essence of our shared and profound love of the landscape here in California." Lisa’s first piece for Wente Vineyards 2017 GSM tells a story of the family’s deep appreciation of the land and more specifically, Livermore Valley. Inspiring hope and perseverance, Lisa weaves vibrant colors interpreting rolling hills, a glorious sky, spectacular vines, all while complimented by notes of dark fruit and California wildflowers. In addition to the annual Artist Series partnership, the Wente family continues to support the arts through Wente Foundation for Arts Education, a non-profit organization established in 2012, which is a natural extension of the family’s commitment to the arts and community. To learn more about the Artist Series program visit www.wentevineyards.com/artistseries.   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, it 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. In 2018, the winery took a leadership role in its longstanding mission to inspire employees and guests to make time for what really matters, as realized through Wente Vineyards’ best practices, outstanding wines and wine country experiences. 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 Rachel Chittick at Charles Communications Associates at press@charlescomm.com or 415.701.9463.
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Wente Vineyards Announces 2019 Tasting Experiences

11 April, 2019

  WENTE VINEYARDS ANNOUNCES 2019 TASTING & TOUR EXPERIENCES AT HISTORIC LIVERMORE VALLEY WINERY Including three new food & beverage offerings  April 11, 2019 WHO:   Wente Vineyards, the country’s oldest, continuously operated family-owned winery announced an updated lineup of tasting and touring experiences at the family’s historic Livermore Valley estate for 2019.   WHAT:   A series of seven delectable 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) 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 without a reservation in the Vineyard Tasting Room, as well as in the Estate Tasting room and Winemakers Studio (the latter two options will take reservations via CellarPass or phone).   Wine & Cheese Tasting/Pairing in The Caves ($45) This unique offering in the Wente Vineyards estate caves features cheeses by local cheesemakers like Nicolau Farms Cheeses. Like the Wente family, 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, by appointment only.  Guests can call or email to reserve.   Vineyard Property Tour ($35) 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. 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. Guests may call, email or reserve on CellarPass.   Estate Winery Property Tour ($35) 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. Available Monday - Friday 11:30AM & 2:30PM; Saturday - Sunday 11:30AM.  Guests can book via CellarPass or call/email. Harvest Tour ($45) A must during harvest season! 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. Guests can reserve on Cellar Pass starting in August (TBD, depending on harvest!).   Get to Know Pinot ($60) In this 60-minute class, guests will learn about the history Pinot Noir Grape and how it made its way from France to the United States. Guests will taste through several pinot clones and discuss the individual nuances.  Available Saturdays from 3PM – 4PM. Guests can call or reserve on Cellar Pass starting in March at The Winemakers Studio.   Club Lounge $21 for charcuterie and cheese boards Available for club members, this tasting and pairing the Club Lounge is now available on weekends at the Vineyard Tasting Room. Club Members receive their complimentary tasting (up to 4 complimentary tastings) and member benefits on bottle purchases.  Charcuterie and cheese boards will be available for purchase. Available Saturdays & Sundays from 11AM - 5PM. Last seating is at 4:30PM.  For club members only. Guests can call or email to reserve.    WHEN:   All tasting experiences are available to book now, aside from Harvest Tours which will begin in August (harvest pending!).   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     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.    Located just east of San Francisco in the historic Livermore Valley, Wente Vineyards is recognized as one of California's premier wine country destinations. In 2018, the winery took a leadership role in its longstanding mission to inspire employees and guests to make time for what really matters, as realized through Wente Vineyards’ best practices, outstanding wines and wine country experiences. The property features wine tasting, world-class concerts, award-winning fine dining and championship golf. For more information, visit www.wentevineyards.com.   Check www.wentevineyards.com for more information and tickets.     CONTACT:  To reserve tastings please call 925.456.2305, email tastingroom@wentevineyards.com or reserve on CellarPass.   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 Inaugural Release of Niki’s Pinot Noir Rosé

6 February, 2019

    Wente Vineyards Announces Inaugural Release of Niki’s Pinot Noir Rosé LIVERMORE VALLEY, CA – Valentine’s Day 2019 – Wente Vineyards is tickled pink(!) to announce the inaugural release of the 2018 Niki’s Pinot Noir Rosé (SRP $30), just in time for Valentine’s Day. Wente Vineyards remains the country’s oldest, continuously operated family-owned winery, and this bottling marks the newest addition to an internationally respected stable of top quality, appellation-driven California wines.    2018 Niki’s Pinot Noir Rosé is the brainchild of Viticulturist and 5th Generation Winegrower, Niki Wente. Niki partnered with her cousin, Wente Vineyards’ Chief Operating Officer and Winemaker Karl Wente, to create a crisp, pure rosé with notes of cantaloupe, rhubarb, white strawberry and mandarin zest, while maintaining a sophisticated, almost rose quartz-like acidity. The lingering finish makes this the perfect pairing to elevate weekend brunch (though it’s also great on its own, perhaps with a slice of manchego cheese). The sleek, tapered bottle and the bright, fresh look of the label prove an enticing complement to the wine inside.   Wente Vineyards is coming off its 135th anniversary, when it was resoundingly celebrated for its industry-wide contributions to innovation, especially with regards to vineyard sustainability. As the Viticulturist for Wente Vineyards, Niki is now the face of that commitment. Her first priority is always the vineyard, and she loves the Pinot Noir grape for its clonal diversity and ability to translate terroir into a uniquely elegant flavor profile. Niki wanted to make a wine that best reflects the quality farming of the Arroyo Seco (Monterey) appellation, where the cooler climate creates a longer growing season and allows the grapes to develop optimally. This single vineyard Pinot Noir starts with 8 clonal selections, establishing a unique complexity before the wine is ever made. It is completely dry and fermented in stainless steel tanks to retain its bright, crisp acidity.   Niki believes rosé of Pinot Noir is the ideal vehicle to express the elegant terroir she cultivates in a leaner style. Color was extremely important to her, so she and the team were very intentional with how they developed color and the pale pink hue of this wine reflects her visual and subsequent flavor aesthetic.  Niki’s uncle Eric Wente has a namesake Chardonnay (Eric’s Chardonnay) that was crafted to reflect his love of lean, mineral driven Chablis – this rosé is literally the next generation of that flavor profile.   Niki said, “My family has a passion for stewardship of our land. I absolutely love being able to continue this legacy and maintaining quality in our vineyards. Sustainability in the vineyard has always been our practice and we wouldn’t still be here after 136 years otherwise. Being able to farm the land I love and make a beautiful wine from the grapes is such a meaningful experience and I’m so excited to share it.” She shares more about her vineyard philosophy and sustainable practices in this video released just before Valentine’s Day. 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, it 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 clones of Chardonnay are 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. In 2018, the winery took a leadership role in its longstanding mission to inspire employees and guests to make time for what really matters, as realized through Wente Vineyards’ best practices, outstanding wines and wine country experiences. 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 at Charles Communications Associates at press@charlescomm.com or 415.701.9463.   ###
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