5565 Tesla Road
Livermore, CA 94550
Tours, Caves, Event Service,
After learning about winemaking from Charles Krug, C. H. Wente, a first-generation immigrant from Germany, founded his own winery in 1883. Recognizing that the warm days, cool nights and gravelly soils of the Livermore Valley were ideal for growing grapes, he purchased 48 acres and planted vineyards. In 1918, C. H. Wente’s sons Ernest and Herman joined the business, with Ernest managing the vineyards and Herman acting as winemaker. The company was later passed on to Ernest’s only son Karl, and in 1977, Karl’s young son Eric took the helm. Continuing the 125 year legacy, the winery is managed today by the Fourth Generation of the Wente family, Eric, Philip, Carolyn, and the Fifth Generation, Christine and Karl. The winery has grown to include over 2,000 acres of vineyards in the Livermore Valley, San Francisco Bay and 800 acres in Arroyo Seco, Monterey.
Technology meets tradition at the Wente Vineyards winery. This fusion of old and new is a Wente family legacy, from Third Generation Winemaker Karl L. Wente’s adoption of stainless steel fermentation in the 1960s, to present-day experimentation with yeasts and unique red wine press designs. The willingness to innovate and experiment has been a hallmark of the Wente family operations since they introduced the first varietally labeled Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Chardonnay in the 1930s. For five generations, the Wente family has been dedicated to the art of winemaking and to the philosophy that the quality of a wine originates in the vineyard. Today, Fifth Generation Winemaker Karl D. Wente carries on the family winemaking tradition. “There is no separation between what happens out in our vineyards and what takes place in the winery,” says Karl. “We all recognize that our first priority is growing grapes that have the potential to become excellent wines. We then tailor our methods and techniques in the winery to preserve the delicate flavors in the fruit and to elevate an expression of the vineyard terroir.” Fifth Generation Winegrower, Karl D. Wente represents a new breed of winemaker. Well educated; he earned a degree in Chemical Engineering from Stanford and two Masters degrees from UC Davis, and well trained; he honed his skills at The Peter Michael Winery in Sonoma, and at Brown Brothers winery in Australia, Karl maintains the traditional hands-on approach of previous generations of Wente family winemakers. “Winemaking is in my blood and this is far more than just an opportunity. The resources at my hands are a privilege to be shared.”
”imageThe Livermore Valley, with an east-west valley orientation, lies twenty miles east of the San Francisco Bay. The moderating effects of the Bay and the marine climate of the Pacific Ocean entering through the Golden Gate Gap significantly influence the climate of the region. During the growing season, cool and foggy mornings give way to warm midday temperatures. Then, early afternoon breezes and evening fog lower temperatures again, preserving the fruit’s natural acidity. This climactic cycle is beneficial to wine grapes, which need warmth for healthy growth, maturation, and development, and cool nights and mornings to retain delicate flavors. Though the region is influenced predominantly by this cool marine cycle, the bowl shaped Livermore Valley is over twenty miles in length and has numerous microclimates and varied soil types. The winery’s Estate vineyards are located on sloping hillsides, on ancient stony riverbeds, along fertile valley floors and at the base of steep sandstone cliffs. The microclimate of each of these locations is particularly suited to specific grape varieties. The morning fog that lingers over the valley floor makes it a superb location for Chardonnay, while warmer temperatures in the region’s hillside vineyards allow varietals such as Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon to develop to full maturity. “The incredible diversity of our vineyards allows us to cultivate wines with unique characteristics that tell the story of where they came from, says Fourth Generation Winegrower Phil Wente.