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Celebrate National Chardonnay Day with Wente Vineyards: California’s First “Family of Chardonnay” Hosts National Toast on May 23, 2013

15 May, 2013


Livermore, CA - In honor of the best selling varietal in the United States, the Wente Family, creators of the Wente Clone of Chardonnay—the most widely planted Chardonnay clone in California—will host a virtual toast on Thursday, May 23, 2013 to celebrate the varietal with excited fans from around the country. Last year marked the 100th anniversary of the Wente family, bringing Chardonnay cuttings from France and planting them in the Livermore Valley.

To build upon this milestone, celebrations from Wente Vineyards Event Center in Livermore, California, kick off at 4:00pm PST on May 23, when the Wente family will appear on a special Tout Suite Social Club live-stream video event, to offer up a special virtual toast to Chardonnay for wine enthusiasts around the country. Admirers of America’s favorite varietal can join in the celebration from their laptops to hear brief remarks from Fourth Generation Winegrowers Carolyn and Philip Wente, before raising a glass together in the first annual Wente Vineyards National Chardonnay Day toast.

Wente Vineyards was the first winery in California to varietally label Chardonnay in 1936, and since then, the family has been producing benchmark Estate grown Chardonnays.

The Wente family’s connection with Chardonnay began with second generation Winegrower Ernest Wente, while he was a student at the University of California at Davis. In 1912, with the help of University of California Davis’ academic staff Leon Bonnet, Ernest persuaded his father and winery founder Carl Wente, to import cuttings from the vine nursery at the University of Montpellier in France. Around the same time, Ernest Wente also sourced budwood from the Gier Vineyard in Pleasanton which had cuttings from Meursault in France. He planted the two sources in his family’s Livermore Valley vineyard and over the next 30-40 years, selected vines that showed favorable traits, and re-planted them to establish the Wente Clone of Chardonnay1.

In 1976, the Judgment of Paris featured a 1973 Chardonnay from Chateau Montelena that was comprised largely of the Wente Clone of Chardonnay. When that wine bested some of France’s most prestigious whites in a blind tasting, California Chardonnay plantings grew exponentially from 2700 acres in 1970 to 11,000 acres in 1980 to 45,000 acres in 19882.

Currently, there are almost 100,000 acres of Chardonnay planted in California and it has become the number one selling wine varietal in the U.S3. For more information on the Wente family’s Chardonnay history or to host your own National Chardonnay Day celebration by downloading the Chardonnay Party Kit, please visit Join the conversation on Wente Vineyards' Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages as well.

For media inquiries, interviews or to find out more about National Chardonnay Day, please contact Kimberly Charles or Skye Morgan at Charles Communications Associates: 415|701-9463 or

About Wente Vineyards

Founded in 1883, Wente Vineyards is the oldest continuously-operated, family-owned winery in the country; owned and managed by the fourth and fifth generations of the Wente family. The winery draws from nearly 3,000 acres of 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, Wente Vineyards was among the first wineries to receive the Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing designation, and one of the only wineries to certify every aspect of its business. 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 marks the 100th anniversary of the Wente family bringing Chardonnay cuttings to California. Today, the Wente clone of Chardonnay is the most widely planted in California. This year, the winery celebrates its 130th anniversary.

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  

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Asher, G. 1990. Wine Journal: Chardonnay, Buds, Twigs, and Clones. Gourmet (May):62.
California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). 2011. Grape Acreage Report 2010 Crop.
Olmo, Harold P. 1971. Chardonnay. Wine Advisory Board, San Francisco, California.
Robinson, Jancis. 2006. The Oxford Companion to Wine. 3d ed. Oxford University Press. Oxford, England.
Sweet, Nancy L. 2007. Chardonnay History and Selections at FPS. FPS Grape Program Newsletter. (November)
Wolpert, J.A., A.N. Kasimatis, and E. Weber. 1994. Field Performance of Six Chardonnay Clones in the Napa Valley. Am.J. Enol.Vitic. 45(4): 393-399.

1 Philip Wente
Wolpert et al. 1994; Robinson 2006
CDFA 2011