The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2012

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Page 51 of 140

DEPARTMENT HEADER "There isn't one day that's like another," says Carolyn Wente, who tackles any challenge, in the winery or on the golf course, head on. will give us the information we need to make good business decisions early in the cycle," affirms Wente whose leader- ship team now has the advantage of a fully-integrated ERP system designed to take the company forward for the next 20 years. Fast Forward In the short term, Wente agrees that the industry is now heading into what analysts are predicting will be a cycle of limited supply. Plans are being made to replant 50 to 100 fallow acres of the estate to Wente clone Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon annually over the next five years. The superiority of the winery's namesake Chardonnay clone, which is planted extensively in California, is undisputed. In June, an industry panel anchored by Philip Wente and moderated by Tim Gaiser, MS gathered for a seminar that explored the 100-year history of the Wente clone of Chardonnay, which the Wente family crafts into several distinct wines of its own. "The Wente clone accounts for a lot of Chardonnay that is really delicious and also has the potential to age," says Gaiser. "It's almost universally identifiable with high acid and a strong flavor profile that's transparent enough to reflect a variety of sites." Also on the panel, Chuck Hayward of JJ Buckley Fine Wines tracked the clone's progress to Australia and other New World sites, and winemakers St├ęphane Vivier and Greg La Follette discussed their approaches to crafting Chardonnay. Indeed, this highly successful varietal is both a family bond and a litmus test at Wente Vineyards. "There's a bit of a family rivalry when it comes to mak- ing Chardonnay," says Carolyn who has a soft spot for the Morning Fog. "From the very lean, stainless steel- fermented wines made by Eric to the rich, barrel-fermented wines Karl crafts for The Nth Degree, everyone has their favorite." These passions prove that, beyond statistics and marketing, for Carolyn Wente and her family it's really all about the wine. october 2012 / the tasting panel / 51

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