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Wente Family Estates Appoints Christine Wente as Chairman of the Board


Trailblazing Winery Looks to the Future with Next Generation Leadership Transition Effective March 28, 2024.

WenteLIVERMORE, Calif. (April 2, 2024) – Wente Family Estates announced today that fifth generation winegrower Christine Wente has been appointed as Chairman of the Board, signaling a transition to fifth generation board leadership at America’s longest continuously owned and operated family winery, marking 141 years of history in 2024. This move represents the continuation of a successful family business, with the first fifth generation Wente taking the reins in this leadership role.

“It’s an honor to step into this position as Chairman of the Board,” said Christine. “I’m so inspired by the hard work, dedication and passion of my father Eric, my uncle Phil, and my aunt Carolyn, who have done an incredible job breaking barriers and bringing Wente well into the 21st century when it comes to innovation, wine quality, and every facet of sustainability. I’m excited to take the baton and continue to advance our business alongside my brother and my cousins.”

Carolyn Wente, who has served as Chairman since April 2021, will be transitioning to Chairman Emeritus as the next step in supporting the five-generation family business. In her 45 years of service, Carolyn has been one of the driving forces behind the expansion and growth of its wine portfolio as well as its lifestyle business, which has brought Wente Vineyards worldwide renown and attracted visitors from around the globe. She has held leadership positions as President and as the family’s first female CEO, with her steadfast vision elevating every aspect of the winery, from wholesale success to customer experience, continuous improvement of systems and operational flow, and a culture of innovation. Carolyn will continue to support the brands in the wholesale market with distributors and advise on strategic recommendations made by the management team to the board.

“I am so proud of our multi-generational family business, which is now transitioning to its fifth generation of leadership,” said Carolyn. “We have managed to stay true to our 141-year family story while successfully navigating the industry-wide challenges of recent years, growing our brand, and introducing a whole new demographic of young Wente Family Estates consumers in the process. It reaffirms the work my brothers and I have done and our vision for the future by now looking to the fifth-generation leaders to shape the path forward and continue the legacy to the sixth generation.”

Christine has been with the winery for 24 years, including 13 years on the board. As Chairman, she has ambitious goals to keep driving innovation as a major focus, ensuring that Wente Family Estates continues to push the envelope when it comes to wine quality, packaging, technology, sustainability, and community engagement.  

Christine Wente was the first member of the fifth generation to join the family business. She earned a bachelor’s degree in politics from Princeton University and her MBA from Stanford University and began her career in sales and marketing for the E. & J. Gallo Winery. Since joining Wente Vineyards in 2000, she has worn many hats, including selling and marketing her family’s wines in the United States and abroad, and overseeing her family’s hospitality business. She has always been a passionate contributor to the winery’s sustainability initiatives and was a founder of The Wente Foundation for Arts Education, a non-profit foundation that has granted over $1,000,000 to local arts education programs.

A staunch advocate for the California wine industry, Christine serves on the boards of the Wine Institute and the Oakland Museum of California, and recently completed terms on the boards of the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Foundation and the Three Valleys Community Foundation. She is also on the board of a leading hospitality technology company and an advisor for an innovative irrigation technology company.

“I’m thrilled to support and work alongside the fabulous team we have in place – well beyond those who share my last name,” Christine continued. “It takes a lot of talent to get to 141 years in business for a medium-sized winery like ours, and I’m so proud of the people practices and community initiatives that we have in place to take us into the next 141 and beyond. Looking ahead to fifth – and soon sixth! – generation family leadership, I’m excited about the future of Wente Family Estates.”

About Wente Vineyards

Founded in 1883, Wente Vineyards is celebrated for its industry-wide contributions to innovation as the longest continuously operated, family-owned winery in the country, now owned and managed by the fourth and fifth generations of the Wente family, with women leading the charge from grape to glass. The winery draws from certified sustainable estate vineyards in the Livermore Valley, San Francisco Bay, and Arroyo Seco, Monterey appellations to create an outstanding array of fine wines distributed in all 50 states and over 70 countries worldwide.

In 2010, it joined the top 10% of California wineries that meet all three tiers within the Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing codes and designation for both their estate vineyards and winery. In April 2022, the winery won the Wine Institute’s California Green Medal Leader Award. This award is given to one winery each year and recognizes leadership in sustainable practices that span both its vineyards and winery as well as the estate’s socially responsible initiatives that benefit its employees and greater community.

Located just east of San Francisco in the historic Livermore Valley, Wente Vineyards – Wente Family Estates’ flagship estate label – is recognized as one of California’s premier wine country destinations, featuring wine tasting, food and wine experiences, outdoor wine and music events, unparalleled wedding venues and The Course at Wente Vineyards, an 18-hole championship golf course designed by Greg Norman. For more information, visit wentevineyards.com.