The SOMM Journal

February / March 2016

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Page 97 of 132

{ }  97 2010 2011 Wente Vineyards receives the Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing designation. Wente Vineyards is awarded American Winery of the Year by Wine Enthusiast. The Wente family celebrates the lOOth anniversary of the Wente clone of Chardonnay. Today, around 80% of all Chardonnay planted in California is derived from the Wente clone. Wente Foundation for Arts Education established. 2013 Wente Vineyards celebrates 130 years as the country's oldest continuously operated family-owned winery and continues vineyard expansion in the Livermore Valley and Monterey appellations. 2014 2014 Introduces new look for Estate Grown and Single Vineyard wines to celebrate 130th vintage. Wente Vineyards opens The Winemakers Studio, the first-of-its-kind wine education facility for consumers. Carolyn Wente elected Chairman of the Board of the California Wine Institute. 2015 - future Continues implementation of new technology, especially in water conservation and management: installs 100% drip-irrigation system, implements Fruition Sciences monitoring, TerrAvion aerial imagery, soil moisture sensors/ probes. 2012 CHAPTER 5: The Journey Continues What the Wentes call "The Love of the Journey" is now embodied in the Fifth Generation, Christine and Karl, who respectively head the company's Foundation Board, and winemaking. The centennial of the Wente Chardonnay clone was commemorated in the same year as Wente Vineyards' recognition as American Winery of the Year by Wine Enthusiast The following year the Wentes celebrated 130 years as the country's oldest continuously operated family-owned winery. The newest generation is focused not only on new territories and wines, but education and outreach, establishing the Wente Foundation for Arts Education and the Winemakers Studio, the first-of-its-kind wine education facility for consumers. Karl, who counts music and yoga among his passions, introduced a new generation of wines that are 100% estate-grown and certified sustainable. In concert with advances in environmentally conscious technology, his team continues to uphold the family's long time commitment to water and land conservation. Wente had a big impact in preventing urbanization and was instru - mental in founding the Livermore Valley Conservancy. And Wente was instrumental in preserving the heritage in other ways by supporting and buying up other wineries in Livermore that were going under. That couldn't have been done in Napa or Sonoma. They've been strong stewards not just of particular grapes and Chardonnay especially, but also a steward of the regions in which they grow and the local wine industries they're in. —Fred Swan, wine educator, San Fran Wine School and creator of NorCalWine blog CHAPTER 4: Generational Know-How When the Fourth Generation—Eric, Philip and Carolyn Wente—entered the family business, they continued to make wine but were also instrumen - tal in making connections. The family launched the Concerts at Wente Vineyards program, opened a winery restaurant (the third in California) and a Greg Norman–designed champion - ship golf course, further linking wine, lifestyle and the Livermore Valley. Carolyn and her mother wrote the federal regulations for the Livermore Valley AVA, which was approved in 1982, further reinforcing the family's commitment to the land. They're all on board together—all gener - ations and the whole family . . . it goes so deep, it's hard not to talk about them and tell stories because they have such a rich history. And their commitment shows—it shows in the quality of the wines they make, the vineyard, and it shows in the practical things about how they approach consumers, offering such a wide range of flavor profiles that are all great in each category. —Chris Sawyer, sommelier and educator Fourth Generation: Eric, Philip and Carolyn Wente. Fifth Generation: Christine and Karl D. Wente.

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