Wente Vineyards' Founder, Carl Heinrich Wente, Inducted into the Vintners Hall of Fame: Honor Coincides with Wente Vineyards' 125th Anniversary Celebration

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On Friday, March 7th, The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) will induct Carl Heinrich Wente into the Vintners Hall of Fame as a "Pioneer." The award honors those who have made a significant contribution to the California wine industry. C.H. Wente founded Wente Vineyards in 1883 in the Livermore Valley, just east of San Francisco. Today, Wente Vineyards is the country's oldest, continuously operated family-owned winery, marking its 125th anniversary this year.

This is a high honor

    "This is a high honor," said Karl D. Wente, Fifth Generation Winemaker. "It was my great, great grandfather's original vision and hard work that brought us to this moment in history. I know he would be proud of our continued focus on innovation and stewardship, creating an estate that is sustainable for future generations."

C.H. Wente emigrated from Germany to California in the 1870's, studying winemaking at Charles Krug Winery. Later, at his own estate, he planted Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc cuttings originally sourced from Chateau Yquem in France by fellow Livermore Valley founding father Charles Wetmore. In 1912, the Wentes sourced and planted Chardonnay cuttings from Montpellier, France. Today, the "Wente" clone accounts for nearly 80% of all Chardonnay planted in California. In 1935, C.H. Wente's sons, Ernest and Herman, introduced California's first varietal wine label, a Sauvignon Blanc.

In recent history, Fourth Generation Winegrowers Eric, Philip and Carolyn Wente have defined Livermore Valley Wine Country as a regional destination with fine dining, championship golf and a renowned concert series. They have also been leaders in the mission to preserve agriculture and open space. Today, Fifth Generation Winegrower Christine Wente heads marketing for the family's hospitality, entertainment and golf operations. Fifth Generation winemaker Karl D. Wente's passion for making artisinal, handcrafted wines has led to the addition of "The Nth Degree" small lot wines to the Wente Vineyards portfolio.

Other 2008 Vintners Hall of Fame nominees being inducted on Friday at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, in St. Helena are: John Daniel, Inglenook; Louis P. Martini, Louis M. Martini Winery; Ernest & Julio Gallo, E&J Gallo Winery; Paul Draper, Ridge Vineyards; Milijenko "Mike" Grgich, Grgich Hills and wine merchant Darryl Corti.

For more information about Wente Vineyards, visit http://www.wentevineyards.com.

For more information about the Culinary Institute of America, visit the CIA Web site at http://www.ciachef.edu.

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Christina Zirker
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