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Wente Vineyards Celebrates 130th Anniversary


Date: 02/05/13

The country's oldest, continuously operated, family owned winery reviews nearly a century and a half of milestones.

2013 marks the 130th anniversary for the country’s oldest, continuously operated family-owned winery, Wente Vineyards. The Wente family has played an integral role in the development of wine culture in America since the 19th century. Today, the company maintains its leadership role in California winegrowing under the ownership and management by the fourth and fifth generations of the Wente family.

“With such a longstanding history, we are happy to mark this milestone for both our family and our company,” states Carolyn Wente, CEO. “We are proud of our heritage and excited about the many new and innovative projects on the horizon.”

Wente Vineyards is recognized as one of California’s premier wine country destinations. Located just east of San Francisco in the historic Livermore Valley, the winery provides tastings, fine dining and championship golf, while serving as a venue for some of the finest outdoor concerts in California. In 2011, Wente Family Estates received the American Winery of the Year award from Wine Enthusiast magazine for its leadership role in the wine market, as well as its historical relevance to winemaking and production in the United States.

The company was founded in 1883 when German immigrant Carl H. Wente purchased 48 acres of vineyard land in the Livermore Valley. Blending traditional and innovative winemaking practices, today’s winery draws from 3,000 acres of sustainably farmed estate vineyards, located in Livermore Valley and Arroyo Seco appellations.

Most notable within the historical Wente family history is the Chardonnay clone that was brought to California in 1912 from a vine nursery at Montpellier University in France. Planted in what is now a heritage vineyard, along with cuttings from the historical Gier Vineyard in Pleasanton, CA, the Wente clone today comprises a majority of all Chardonnay plantings in California.

Wente Vineyards now operates under the direction of CEO and fourth generation winegrower Carolyn Wente, along with chairman of the board and fourth generation winegrower Eric Wente and fourth generation winegrower Philip Wente. Fifth generation Karl D. Wente serves as SVP of winemaking operations and is lead winemaker. He has brought innovation and modern style to the brand, particularly with the creation of The Nth Degree line of wines. Karl’s sister, Christine Wente, fifth generation winegrower serves as winery spokesperson and president of the Wente Family Foundation For Arts Education.

Wente Vineyards continues to be known as one of America’s leading premium wine exporters. The company plays a pivotal role in positioning California wines in the global marketplace, selling about 20 percent of its branded production in more than 70 countries, including Brazil, Canada, China, Japan, Germany and the Caribbean. More than 300,000 estate grown cases are distributed on a national basis.

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 marked 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.

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