Wine Country,Winery

Wente Vineyards ~ Where Lifestyle Meets Wine Country Perfection

Wine industry historian Charles Sullivan once told me that Livermore Valley is the very first place he began to visit as a wine country destination, because it’s in close proximity to his home. I believe that most of us who live in California are all guilty of this. It’s just so easy, and there’s just such a local abundance of great wine for all of us who live and work in wine country.

As a wine publicist, I haven’t allowed my entire career to evolve around my local wine companies, though, because my world would be too small. I like the big picture, and honestly… It’s pretty big out there in Livermore. Most of my Livermore education has been based around working with Concannon Vineyard, watching it grow to its present size, and spending so much quality time with legend Jim Concannon.

Livermore also has another gorgeous jewel in its crown, and that’s Wente Family Vineyards.

It’s always been amazing to me that when Andre Tchelistcheff was converting Napa Valley from field blends (which included Petite Sirah by a whopping 60 percent) to planted cultivars, it was the Wente Chardonnay and Concannon Cabernet Clone 7 that led those Napa plantings… Dr. Harold Olmo took cuttings from Livermore Valley to use in his sterilization programs at UC Davis, because both Wente and Concannon had enough sophistication and savvy to get their original plantings from France. It was Livermore’s European vine cuttings that planted over the wine business to healthier vines on Wente’s Chardonnay and Concannon’s Cabernet Sauvignon. I can’t help but continually ask myself, “Where would the California wine industry be today without Dr. Olmo and his Livermore Valley relationships?” Through Olmo and Tchelistcheff of Beaulieu Vineyards, the movement to plant California to vitis vinifera began with the Wente and Concannon offerings.

So, here we have Wente Vineyards on one side of Tesla Road and Concannon on the other. It makes perfect sense, then, that I would take the time to visit and enjoy Wente while in Livermore… And I have.

It’s because of Carolyn Wente’s recent unblinking generosity for something I was working on that she reminded me that not only does she exhibit a great sense of total refinement, but so does her family’s winery and vineyards.

When visiting wine country, many people today – fickle as we Americans are, and not wanting to fight the crowed tour buses and vans – are heading to roads less traveled. Livermore is one of those locations, and it can become the weekend to long remember, with Wente giving its visitors a full range of activities.

A recent visit to their restaurant was delectable. For Wente, wine country cooking means simple food with complex flavors, using the very best sustainable and organically grown local ingredients. The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards opened in 1986, and they began with the end in mind… an ingredient-focused philosophy that has taken Livermore’s fine dining experience to the next level, making it a great Bay Area destination.  If you love open architecture, this is a perfect location. Through classic French doors, if you prefer dining inside versus al fresco, you’ll find The Restaurant to be elegant, warm, very friendly, and extremely delicious.

And for those who have a passion for enjoying a little golf with your wine country experience, don’t forget your golf clubs.  Wente has a phenomenal Golf Course. More than a decade ago, Wente Vineyards and golfing great Greg Norman joined forces to create The Course at Wente Vineyards, with a vision to create Northern California’s premier destination championship golf course.

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