Carolyn Wente of Wente Family Estates Elected Wine Institute Board Chairman
Wine Institute, the public policy advocacy association representing nearly 1,000 California wineries, announced the election of Carolyn Wente as its 2014-2015 Board Chairman. Wente is the chief executive officer of Wente Family Estates in Livermore and the fifth Wente family member to serve as a Wine Institute chairman. The election was held at Wine Institute's 80th Annual Meeting of Members in Half Moon Bay where other board officers elected were: Greg Coleman of E. & J. Gallo Winery in Modesto, first vice chairman; Margie Healy of Korbel Champagne Cellars in Guerneville, second vice chairman; Steve Lohr of J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines in San Jose, treasurer; and Chris Indelicato of Delicato Family Vineyards in Napa, secretary. Robert P. (Bobby) Koch is president and CEO of Wine Institute.
"The 80th anniversary of Wine Institute's establishment marks tremendous growth of California wine from about 14 million cases in 1934 to 272 million in 2013. Wine Institute has supported this growth by promoting and protecting the interests of California wine and all wine in Washington, D.C., all 50 states and the international arena," said Wente. "Preventing punitive taxes and fees, monopoly protection and restrictive trade barriers are part of the vigilant, daily work of Wine Institute. The organization also supports expanding exports, direct-to-consumer shipping, sustainable winegrowing and communicating the values and benefits of the California wine industry. I am honored to chair this vital work with my fellow vintners."
As a fourth-generation winegrower, Wente joined her family's winery in the early 1980s and helped expand and grow its portfolio of wines as well as develop the family's lifestyle business. This included the opening of the Zagat-rated Wente Vineyards Restaurant and Visitors Center in 1986, the winery's Concerts in the Vineyard entertainment series, and its 18-hole championship golf course. Among her many awards and board services are the Woman of the Year Award from the California State Assembly, Wine Enthusiast American Winery of the Year Award in 2011, and participation in the U.S. State Department Fine Arts Committee.
The Wine Institute membership also elected new district- and at-large directors and alternates. District directors and their alternates were elected on a one-member-one-vote basis in each district, following nominations by regional winery associations.
Wine Institute's membership accounts for 95 percent of California wine production and 85 percent of U.S. wine production. Based in San Francisco, with offices in Sacramento, Washington, D.C., six regions across the U.S. and 15 foreign countries, Wine Institute is guided by 80 vintners who are members and alternates of an active board of directors. The board elects the chairman and officers on an annual basis.