In 1883 Carl H. Wente purchased 47 acres of land in the Livermore Valley, this purchase is the foundation of a wine making legacy that has spanned over a hundred years. In 1912 Ernest Wente imported Chardonnay cuttings from the vines of Montpeller, France. Along with sourced cuttings from Pleasanton he developed a hybrid that is today known as the Wente Clone.
In 1936 Wente introduced the first varietal Pinot Chardonnay putting California wines on the map of world class wines. Hermann Wente determined to make California a wine making region as respected as the older vineyards of Europe is a leading voice in founding the California Wine Institute.
By 1949 the 3rd generation of the Wente family is now a major force in California Wine making. Karl L. Wente takes the family winery to the next level by expanding its national distribution and laying the groundwork for international distribution. Dedicated to California vineyards and proud of its wines, Karl L. Wente becomes a spokesperson for California wine, assisting in the establishment of wineries throughout the region.
By 1963 Karl, expands to Monterey as a pioneer in the Arroyo Secco wine growing region which he finds has a long, cool growing season perfect for the varietals Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The Monterey expansion is embraced by the 4th generation of the Wente Family as Eric, Phillip and Carolyn Wente take control expanding both the Livermore Valley and Arroyo appellations.
In 1986 The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards opens pairing great food and California wines in an expansion of both the winery operations and an appreciation for California wines. The Wente Family lays the foundation for wine tourism with the introduction of the Concerts at Wente Vineyards, an annual series of concerts that attracts thousands of guests as well as top named entertainers.
Niki Wente fifth-generation winegrower and viticulture supervisor
We really enjoyed meeting Niki. She is young, enthusiastic, knowledgeable and a great ambassador for the Wente Family brand. She will do the family proud.
Laying the groundwork for the 5th, 6th and future generations of California winemaking the Wente Family expanded international distribution to over 75 countries. The Wente Vineyards, now in its 136th year, welcomes guests to its famed restaurant, private events, golf course and wine tastings.
The Wente Family is dedicated to sustainably continuing the expansion of the California Wine Industry as well as expanding knowledge of soil, water, land conservation in conjunction with introducing innovative methods of grass management for cattle. One of the first vineyards to establish cork recycling, the Wente Family has now introduced an Organic Olive Grove to their plans for sustainable agriculture in the wine country of California.
The amazing history of California wine making can be explored at the Wente Vineyards, 5565 Telsa Road, Livermore, Ca. 925-456-2305. Wine tastings are held daily Mon-Sun – 11 AM -5:30 PM.
An exclusive estate vineyard Murrieta’s Well is one of California’s oldest wineries. Located at 3005 Mines Road, Livermore, California this historic wine estate began growing grapes from cuttings of famed vines from France. Louis Mel purchased the land that is today Murrieta’s Well in 1884. He built a gravity flow winery with imported grapes from Chateau d’Yquem and Chateau Margaux. Descendants of these original cuttings still grow on the Murrieta’s Well estate, while the original gravity flow winery building serves as a tasting room.
The second family to till these vineyards was the Wente family, an original California wine making family. Ernest Wente bought the land from his fellow wine maker Louis Mel in 1933, the land, vineyards and winery has been under the control of the Wente Family since that day.
In 1990 Philip Wente with partner Sergio Traverso revitalized the winery, its vineyards, vintages, labels, buildings and name. Paying homage to the history of the property, the estate was renamed Murrieta’s Well.
Decorated wine barrel for the Painted Barrel Trail event
Today the estate vineyards are under the watchful eye of wine maker Robbie Meyer who utilizes the diversity of the micro climates that this large vineyard encompasses in the Livermore Valley. Soil textures, nutrients, elevation, sun exposure and day and night temperature variations within the 5 sub vineyards create ideal conditions for a variety of wines.
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Wine & Food Experience
"Experience how wine and food come together. This interactive experience begins with a tour of our estate, glass in hand, followed by a relaxing seated tasting in our historic barrel room. A wine ambassador guides you in a wine-focused culinary experience complete with seasonal bites crafted by our Chef to artfully pair with four of our estate wines." https://murrietaswell.com/experience/visit
Grilled Prawn, Gingered Celery Root Mash, Chervil and Pepita Puree paired with a Dry Orange Muscat 2017
English Cucumber and Fennel Slaw, Lemon Chevre, Toasted Almonds paired with a Dry Rose 2018
Lamb Ragu, Hand Cut Linguini, Rumiano Crisp paried with Zarzuela 2016 (my personal favorite) and Herbed Red Quinoa, Spiced Grilled Baby Carrots, White Balsamic Fig Glaze and roasted Walnuts paired with a Malbec 2016.
The wines of Murrieta’s Well are sourced from the grapes that are cultivated in the various climate nuances on the estate. Today the grapes of Murrieta’s Well produce a variety of premium wines including a Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Merlot and other diverse vintages.
We had such a great time at Murrieta's Well. The Wine & Food Experience Spring 2019 was outstanding and a big Thank You to Bob for making the experience all the more enjoyable. Definitely would recommend this special experience. We would also recommend joining the Wine Club because of the quality of the wines and the discounts and exclusive member only events.
As an exclusive wine estate Murrieta’s Well public visits are by reservation only. The winery plays host to private events, special events and a wine club. Visitors with reservations are welcomed to the estate Wednesday and Thursday 12-5 PM, Friday, Saturday and Sunday 11 AM to 5PM. Reservations are available at 925-456-2395.
Some photos courtesy of Murrieta's Well and Wente Family Winery
Story by Daniel Dachille
Voice Over by Jim Reynolds