Karl D.Wente: My life
Good food, good wine, good music, good people. I guess you can say that those are the four corner stones in my philosophy of life. But of course, there’s much more to it than that.
Being born and raised as the fifth generation of the Wente family of winegrowers, wine pretty much flows in my veins. But it wasn’t just a sure thing that I would join the family business as winegrower and winemaker
There were a few things I had to do first. Playing on the Stanford basketball team and on the near-national championship rugby team while studying chemical engineering, for instance. And learning to play guitar, while studying oenology and viticulture at UC Davis.
Before destiny finally caught up with me, I worked through a harvest at Peter Michael Winery in Sonoma and Brown Brothers Winery in Australia. I learned a lot in those years and got a lot of hands on-experience with both winegrowing and winemaking. And of course, I got to hang out with a bunch of good people and taste some good wine.
When I got back to the Livermore Valley, I joined the family business as winegrower and winemaker at Wente Vineyards. To me it makes perfectly good sense that the same person oversees both the growing of grapes and the making of wine. After all, the grapes are the building bricks of wine, and the decisions you make in the vineyard have at least as big an impact on the wine as the decisions you make in the winery.
One of the things I’m most excited about right now is the exclusive series of small lot, hand crafted wines that we call the Nth Degree. Together with my team I prune the vines, pull leaves, remove shoots, thin clusters and finally pick the most promising grapes by hand. In the winery I craft the wine in an effort to express the distinctive terroir of Wente Vineyards and only the best of the best, regardless of vintage or variety, gets bottled with the Nth Degree label.
But of course there’s more to life than wine – and I think it’s important to pursue a broad range of interests to sustain a balanced lifestyle. That’s why I like to play guitar in my band ‘The Front Porch’, go skiing with my friends, and practice yoga. It doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with my work, but it all helps me stay inspired and keep developing in what I’m doing.
So what does all this say about me? Well, to put it shortly you could just call me ‘a hardworking hedonist’.
Founded more than 125 years ago, Wente Vineyards is the country’s oldest, continuously operated family-owned winery. Today, the winery maintains its leadership role in California winegrowing under ownership and management by the Fourth and Fifth Generations of the Wente family. Blending traditional and innovative winemaking practices, the winery draws from approximately 3,000 acres of sustainably farmed Estate vineyards to create an outstanding portfolio of fine wines.