The Wente Family has received the California Exposition and State Fair’s 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award for its contributions since its founding in 1883 to the advancement and improvement of the wine industry in California.
“We are very proud of receiving the Wine Lifetime Achievement Award and see it as a recognition of our family’s contribution to the Californian wine business through five generations,” says Carolyn Wente, CEO of Wente Family Estates. “This is as much a tribute to our founder, Carl H. Wente, who established Wente Vineyards 127 years ago, as it’s a tribute to the fourth and fifth generations who are now running the family businesses.”
For the last 15 years, the California State Fair has honored pioneering figures in the wine business with this prestigious award at a ceremony during “California’s Grape & Gourmet,” the Fair’s wine competition, which took place recently at the Sacramento Convention Center.
Counted among the first commercial winemakers in California, the Wente family was particularly pioneering with its importation of Chardonnay clones from France, and improved winemaking techniques during the late 19th century.
Wente was the first winery to varietally label wines as Chardonnay (1936) and Sauvignon Blanc (1933), and today Wente’s Chardonnays are still counted as the winery’s flagship wines.
The family’s impact on the Californian wine business is obvious even today, as the Wente Clone is the most widely planted Chardonnay clone in California, accounting for close to 80% of the plantings in the state.
In addition, the family plays a leading role in promoting the California wine business through actively serving as board members and officers with various wine and business associations, including the Wine Institute, where both Eric and Phil Wente have served as chairs, as well as the Livermore Chamber of Commerce and the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Assn.