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Wente Vineyards

It all started in the late 1800's when Carl H. Wente arrived in America from Hamburg. He settled in the Napa Valley and learned to make wine from a fellow German called Charles Krug (who founded Napa's oldest winery in 1861). In 1883 Carl established his own 47 acre estate in the Livermore Valley. He was the first to plant Chardonnay in the valley in 1908 and in 1912 this was taken a step further when his son Ernest persuaded his father to import Chardonnay cuttings from the F. Richter Nursery in Montpellier. Ernst selected the vines that he thought showed the best promise and grafted the two together, propagating forward over the years, which ultimately resulted in the “Wente Clone”. Today over 75% of all Californian Chardonnay originates from the Wente Clone and the Wente property. They were able to stay operational during Prohibition by producing sacramental wines. Following the repeal of Prohibition, Ernest and his brother Herman released the county's first varietally labelled Chardonnay in 1936 . Ernest and his son Karl continued to innovate, pioneering new plantings of Pinot Noir, Riesling and Chardonnay in 1964 in the cool climate Arroyo Seco region of Monterey County and in 1966 opened one of the first tasting rooms in California at their Livermore estate. Throughout the 1970's fourth generation Eric, Philip and Carolyn Wente continued to expand the business, and today fifth generation Karl (Chief winemaker and COO), Christine (President of the Wente Foundation for Art Education), Jordon (Brand Manager for Murrieta's Well), Aly (Vice President of Marketing and Customer Experiences) and Niki (Senior Vineyard and Viticulture Manager) are actively involved in various roles. Wente is the oldest continuously-operated family-owned winery in America, the estate is registered as a Californian Historical Landmark. The vineyards and winery are certified sustainable by the Californian Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (less than 10% hold duel certification). They farm with organic principles and employ a full-time falconer during harvest season to help manage pests naturally. Wente have 3,000 acres of estate vineyards and cultivate over 20 different grape varieties spread between two Californian wine regions. Livermore Valley in the San Francesco Bay AVA benefits from a climatic cycle where foggy mornings give way to warm midday temperatures, then early afternoon breezes and evening fog lowers temperatures again, retaining the natural acidity and delicate flavours of the grapes. There are three distinct soil types here: deep sandy loam, lean soil with large amounts of gravel and rock, and soils composed of red clay, rock and gravel. Arroyo Seco in the Monterey AVA is a cooler region with an extended growing season and the soils are loaded with mineral-rich shale and limestone deposits which impart significant flavour components . With this abundance to draw from Wente craft a truly outstanding portfolio, continuing to pursue excellence though traditional and innovative winemaking, and produce under several brand names: Wente Vineyards, Wente Family Estates, Murrieta's Well, Double Decker, Haynes Ranch and Entwine. They are California's First Family of Chardonnay, and the legacy of the family's Wente Clone is continued through four different Chardonnay styles: Morning Fog Chardonnay, Single Vineyard Riva Ranch, Small Lot Eric's Chardonnay and Nth Degree. And if you fancy a game of golf – Wente have a Greg Norman designed championship golf course at their Livermore estate!