Wente Vineyards

Owner(s) Wente Family
Web site www.wentevineyards.com
Link to this site

Wente Vineyards celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2008 and is the oldest, continuously-operated family-owned winery in the United States. Based in Livermore, California, Wente Vineyards (Wente Family Estates) is owned and operated by the fourth and fifth generations of the Wente family and produces about a 675,000 cases of wine per year.

Young Karl D. Wente, the fifth-generation winegrower in the family, launched a winery-within-a-winery, named the Small Lot Winery in 2002, with the intention of producing premium wines from the Wente's 3,000 acres of sustainably-farmed estate vineyards in the Livermore Valley and Arroyo Seco appellations. 31 different grape varieties are farmed. Nth Degree Wines (the name comes from the Wente's efforts to farm their vineyards to the Nth degree) are also under the Small Lot Winery umbrella. Karl earned two master's degrees in (horticulture) viticulture and in food science (enology) from University of California, Davis, and gained experience at both Peter Michael Winery in the Knight's Valley of Sonoma County and Brown Brothers in Victoria, Australia.

The Pinot Noir portfolio of Wente Vineyards includes Estate Grown Wines (Reliz Creek Vineyard Pinot Noir), Small Lot Wines (Small Lot Pinot Noir) and Nth Degree Wines (Nth Degree Pinot Noir). The Nth Degree wines are highly allocated to wine club members and are distributed to a few restaurants and retailers in the United States.

A number of tasting options are available at the winery which also has a fine restaurant, a golf course, and plays host to concerts, weddings and other events. The wines are sold in all 50 U.S. states and in more than 70 countries worldwide. In 2011, Wente Family Estates was awarded American Winery of the Year by Wine Enthusiast. In 2012, The Wente family celebrated the 100th year anniversary of bringing Chardonnay to California.

Karl Wente has a unique creative approach to wine through music expressed by his "Discover the Wine, Discover the Music" campaign. An annual concert music series at the winery has featured many name entertainers.

Reviewed Wines

2005 Wente Vineyards Estate Grown Reliz Creek Arroyo Seco Monterey County Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $18. This wine is named after the creek that runs through the estate vineyards in the Arroyo Seco region of Monterey. There are several blocks dating back to 1963, which are planted to the old Pommard and Martini clones. Neighboring these are more recent, high-density plantings that include a variety of new Dijon clones. Fermentation is done in small, upright, stainless steel fermenters. Pump overs were done twice daily. The wine was aged for 14 months in a combination of American, French, Eastern European and neutral oak barrels. · Aromas of wine cellar, cherries, strawberries and grass. Flavors of black cherries, char and Asian five-spice. Welcoming elegance and refreshing acidity. (Markets) Reviewed June 16, 2009 ARTICLE »