The Tasting Panel magazine

June 2018

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Page 48 of 100

48  /  the tasting panel  /  june 2018 by Emily Coleman / photos by Hardy Wilson W hen you grow up in a family with a professional legacy to uphold, the pressure can seem daunting. This sense of expectation can prompt many people to walk away entirely, instead opting to pursue something completely different and unexpected in their own careers. Not so with Jordan and Niki Wente, fifth-generation family members of Wente Vineyards—the legendary Livermore-based winery established in 1883—and the daughters of fourth-generation winegrower Phil Wente. Being part of a family business can make striking a work-life bal- ance more challenging, so we spoke with the sisters about what they make time for outside of their busy careers. Jordan Wente As a mother and the Project Manager at Wente Vineyards, Jordan Wente jokes that "my life is family, family business, and family" . . . and that's the way it's always been. Growing up, Jordan was incredibly close to her cousins and sib- lings, who spent a lot of time together learning about wine from their parents and seeing the passion they had for the craft of winemaking. Even though she says her father never pressured her to join the family busi- ness, she still decided to go against the grain after college to run congressional campaigns and educational foundations. In fact, it wasn't until she was preg- nant with her second child that she felt compelled to help preserve the Wente family legacy in hopes of one day passing the work down to her own children. Once she officially joined Wente Family Estates, Jordan led the tasting room renovation of its artisan brand Murrieta's Well and has enjoyed working on recent projects like the company's first canned wine, Entwine, and this year's new release, the 135th Anniversary Celebratory Chardonnay. "Marketing devel- ops an idea and I get to take that idea, get everyone on the same page, and help bring the project to life," she explains. "It's an exciting challenge and I learn something new every day." Jordan's three children, ages 1, 2, and 7, are already being introduced to the family business and the wine industry, whether they're joining her for walks out to the vines or seeing the tractors roll by on the vineyard. "My kids keep me grounded and make me slow down and stop. When I'm with them, my inner child comes out," she says. On top of spending time outside hiking and biking with her kids, Jordan says she also enjoys creative outlets like painting; while she can't dedicate the time to those hobbies that she did before having children, she still makes time to draw at her desk to clear her mind. Jordan spent time traveling and studying abroad in Asia and India during her school years, and now that she's prepping for her CSW exam, she wants to visit wine regions all over the world once her kids are old enough to tag along. Until then, she says, "it's one minute at a time." "We're grateful to be part of a lasting legacy and will do all we can to pass it down," Jordan adds. As fifth-generation family winegrowers at Wente Vineyards, sisters Jordan and Niki Wente are taking the reins for the winery's future in marketing and viticulture, respectively. MAKE TIME FOR . . . "We're grateful to be part of a lasting legacy and will do all we can to pass it down."

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