Wente Vineyards Celebrates 140 Years With Harvest Dinner And More

Established in 1883, Wente Vineyards is celebrating it’s 140th harvest this year making it America’s longest, continuously family-owned and operated winery. After five generations, the Wentes have solidified themselves as one of the key winemaking families in California and beyond. In addition to accolades that include preserving domestic Sauvignon Blanc and being recognized as America’s “First Family of Chardonnay” since 1912, the winery is among the first to become a certified sustainable vineyard and winery from the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CCSW).

Moreover, in 2022, Wente was the recipient of the Wine Institute’s California Green Medal Leader Award, given to one winery each year that exceeds expectations of ethical practices within both the vineyards and winery, as well as with socially responsible initiatives.

Today, Wente Family Estates wines can be found in in all 50 states and over 70 countries worldwide. This year the family is commemorating the historic 140th anniversary with a series of exciting events and consumer offerings with includes a sweepstakes giveaway for two to wine country and a special 140th Harvest Dinner featuring a seasonal wine country menu, paired with special wines from the Wente Vineyards portfolio.

“This is a very special milestone for my family, and we are honored to have such an amazing, supportive community who wants to celebrate alongside us,” says Aly Wente, Vice President of Marketing and Experiences. “For this anniversary, we wanted to create special moments for our supporters to experience Wente Vineyards on a more personal level by offering a series of exciting events and consumer offerings.”

We chatted more with Aly Wente, Vice President of Marketing and Experiences, on the special 140th anniversary and upcoming programing, Wente’s key winemaking pillars and more. Here’s what she had to say.

What makes the 140th anniversary of Wente Vineyards a significant milestone for the winery and the Wente family? How does it reflect the winery’s commitment to sustainability, excellence and longevity in the industry?

This anniversary is a significant milestone because it confirms our continued commitment to our employees, customers, and communities. Our team shows a dedication to striving for excellence every day, which has helped us create trusted, quality products in the eyes of consumers. Our rich history has provided us many learning opportunities, which we embrace with a continuous improvement mindset, as we are always focused on creating a business for the next generation. With the fifth generation at the helm of the company, we are inspired about the future of our brands and experiences for decades to come.

Over the course of 140 years, how has Wente Vineyards evolved and grown? Can you discuss some of the key developments or changes that have contributed to its success and prominence in the wine industry?

We have been hyper-focused on our sustainable initiatives. Wente Vineyards was among the first to become a certified sustainable vineyard and winery from the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CCSW).

Our commitment to responsible farming has always been one of the core pillars of Wente Vineyards, but I think the 5th generation – which includes myself, my sisters, and my cousins – have been keen to take that commitment even further. In 2022, we completed a self-imposed third-party greenhouse gas audit, which found that our winery emits just one kilogram per liter of greenhouse gas (as of 2022).

As of the last official measurement in 2019, 1.47 was the international winery average. In other words, we come in well below (under 25%) the average output. The report is a resounding endorsement of the aggressive energy, water, and carbon saving initiatives that we have spearheaded in recent years, and we are incredibly proud of the measurable results.

With this, we have recently transitioned to lightweight glass molds across the majority of our portfolio of wines. We also recently added Certified Sustainable Winery & Vineyard on the front of our labels to drive better awareness with our customers. We have led many transformative applications to our farming techniques, with a focus on soil health. This year, we are more focused than ever on delivering to the ‘Social’ pillar of sustainability, improving our organizations value with our employees and communities through programs, benefits, and engagement.

How is Wente Vineyards celebrating its 140th anniversary?

Longtime fans of our wines will have a chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the storied winery in Livermore Valley, California. The sweepstakes includes an exclusive three-night stay for two that includes round-trip airfare, hotel accommodations, meals, tours, and exclusive behind-the-scenes experiences hosted by my family. This giveaway will be valid and available through December 2023. For more information, here.

We are especially excited about our 140th Harvest Dinner! On September 9, we will welcome guests to celebrate our anniversary with us over a multi-course, farm-to-table dinner paired with our wines amid 100-year-old olive trees on a secluded parcel of our property – definitely a one-of-a-kind experience! Tickets can be purchased here.

Talk about the concert series. What’s special and unique about it and what can guests look forward to?

Our concert series are always a huge hit! Being around for 140 years, we are big on community. We love getting our new and returning guests together and offer new opportunities to celebrate the warmer seasons and to experience the very best of Wente Vineyards. Our Summer Live Music Series expanded to five shows this season, focusing on a variety of tribute bands and local famous groups, like Crawdad Republic. The shows are meant to be laid back, easy and fun. Guests bring low back chairs or blankets, and can enjoy wine by the bottle with snacks available for sale.

The full lineup for the rest of the year can be found on our Event page.

Looking forward, what are the aspirations and goals of Wente Vineyards as it enters its 141st year and beyond?

We are focused on continuing to grow our portfolio of wines, meeting customers where they are with new, innovative products. We look forward to continuing to tell our brand story across the globe to allow new customers to discover our wines, currently sold in 75 countries worldwide. In the Livermore Valley at our home estate, we are dedicated to experimenting, enhancing, and growing our wine experiences and membership offerings for customers to keep our 1:1 relationship strong. As an organization, we are committed to making Wente Family Estates one of the best organizations to work for in the wine industry as well as the Bay Area.

Talk about the tastings and food pairings offered at the property. Who is behind the pairings? What’s the menu inspiration at The Grill?

Food and wine have always been core to Wente Vineyards. After closing our restaurant of 35 years and transforming the space into a Tasting Lounge, our team worked together collectively to curate new experiences that we felt brought out the best in the wines and what customers are looking for when wine tasting. We have a Reserve Tasting Experience that is focused on small bites crafted for individual wine pairings against a flight of four distinct tasting room only wines. Our Classic Experience is a more relaxed experience, that showcases how approachable food and wine pairing can be, with a flatbread, salad and flight of four wines, perfect for an afternoon on our patio.

The Grill and Tasting Lounge food programs are each seen over by a head Chef, though our entire team tastes through new menus and tasting experiences to provide feedback and suggestions. When we work and collaborate on menus together, we believe it makes us stronger.

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