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Wente Family honored with California Exposition and State Fair's 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award

8 July, 2010

Livermore, CA, July 8th 2010 - Today the Wente Family received the California Exposition and State Fair's 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award for its contributions since its founding in 1883 to the advancement and improvement of the wine industry in California.

'We are very proud of receiving the Wine Lifetime Achievement Award and see it as a recognition of our family's contribution to the Californian wine business through five generations. This is as much a tribute to our founder Carl H. Wente who established Wente Vineyards 127 years ago, as it's a tribute to the fourth and fifth generations, who are now running the family businesses', says Carolyn Wente, Fourth Generation and CEO of Wente Family Estates.

For the last 15 years, the California Exposition and State Fair has honored pioneering figures in the wine business with this prestigious award at a ceremony during the 'California's Grape & Gourmet', the California State Fair's premier wine competition, which took place today at the Sacramento Convention Center.

Leading role in the Californian wine business

Counted among the first commercial winemakers in California, the Wente family was particularly pioneering with its importation of Chardonnay clones from France and improved winemaking techniques during the late 19th century. Wente was the first winery to varietally label wines asChardonnay (1936) and Sauvignon Blanc (1933), and today Wente's Chardonnays are still counted as the winery's flagship wines.

The family's impact on the Californian wine business is obvious even today, where the Wente Clone is the most widely planted Chardonnay clone in California, accounting for close to 80% of the plantings in the state.  In addition, the family plays a leading role in promoting the California wine business through actively serving as board members and officers with various wine and business associations, including the Wine Institute, where both Eric and Phil Wente have served as chairs, as well as the Livermore Chamber of Commerce and the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association.

Dedicated to sustainability

Throughout its history as a winemaking family, the Wente’s have been dedicated to sustainable farming and production methods beginning with sustainable practices employed in the late 1800’s by C.H. Wente. A century later, to honor the centennial the family created their 'Farming for the Future' Program, the purpose of which is to enhance the well-being of employees, the local community and the global environment. At Wente Vineyards, sustainable winegrowing integrates three main goals: environmental health, economic profitability, and social and economic equity.

'In many ways this approach goes beyond that of organic farming by focusing on the long-term sustainability of the entire environment, watersheds, habitats and ecosystems within the entire operation', explains Karl Wente, Fifth Generation and Senior Vice-President of Winemaking and Viticulture.

Wente Vineyards is also in the forefront of California wineries that are seeking a new statewide certification in Sustainable Winegrowing, and was part of a group of eighteen wineries that were pilot participants in the Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing undertaking.

In addition to sustainable winegrowing, the program also includes the family's lifestyle and hospitality operations. The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards uses locally sourced (within 100 miles as a rule of thumb) sustainably raised produce, fish, game and meat as well as ingredients from its own estate garden, overseen by a trained master gardener. The award-winning Greg Norman designed Course at Wente Vineyards has achieved the designation as a "Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary" for its strong commitment to protecting wildlife, reducing chemical use, and conserving water. And the family also has undertaken a major oak lands restoration, led by Chairman and Fourth Generation Winegrower Eric Wente, where native acorns are gathered on the estate, planted to grow seedlings and protected until the trees are fully established.

Pioneers since 1883

The history of Wente Vineyards dates back to the early beginnings of Californian commercial winemaking. More than 125 years ago, Carl H. Wente established his own winery in Livermore Valley and since that time his descendants have developed and expanded the family business, making it the oldest continuously family owned and operated winery in California.

Today, both the Fourth Generation of the Wente family, Eric, Philip, Carolyn, and the Fifth Generation, Christine and Karl, manage the family businesses including the wineries of Wente Vineyards, Murrieta’s Well and Tamás Estates, as well as The Course at Wente Vineyards, an 18-hole Greg Norman designed golf course, The Restaurant and the Concerts at Wente Vineyards.

For more information, images, or interviews with the family members, please contact Kimberly Charles at Charles Communications Associates 415|701-9463 or

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