Wente Vineyards is a winery in Livermore, California and holds the distinction of being "the oldest continuously operating, family-owned winery in the United States." The Wente Estate is registered as California Historical Landmark #957.
The winery was established by Carl Wente in 1883 on 47 acres of land. Having received training in wines while working for Charles Krug of Napa Valley, Wente purchased a few vineyards and land of excellent soil. In 1935 his sons, Ernest and Herman, introduced California's first varietal wine label, Sauvignon Blanc. The efforts of the Wente family, including pioneering night-time mechanical harvesting, have helped establish the Livermore Valley as one of the premier wine-growing areas of California. Since then, it has expanded to over 2,000 acres (8 km²), plus an additional 700 acres (3 km²) in Arroyo Seco.
The Wente clone is budwood that is used to plant chardonnay at many California vineyards. In 1912, 2nd Generation Winegrower Ernest Wente took cuttings from the University of Montpellier viticultural nursery in France. Cuttings from the Wente vineyard then spread to a number of other wineries before eventually being certified by the Foundation Plant Materials Service of the University of California, Davis. Clones taken from the certified vines are known as "Wente" or "heat-treated Wente," and clones taken from vines before certification are known as "Old Wente."
The Wente Estate currently consists of a golf course and club, Tasting Rooms, a catering service, and a gourmet restaurant all nestled in the heart of the vineyards. During the summer, they host Concerts in the Vineyard, featuring performing artists from classics like The Doobie Brothers and Frankie Valli, to comedians like George Carlin and jazz artists such as Diana Krall.
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