Wente Family Estates Vineyards & Winery
Founded in 1883, Wente Vineyards is the country's oldest continuously operated family-owned winery. Today, Wente Vineyards is led by the fourth and fifth generations of the Wente family. More than 125 years of committed stewardship to the land led to the development of Wente Vineyards’ Farming for the Future program in the 1990s, a system of sustainable viticultural practices designed to produce the best quality wines with the least environmental impact. This philosophy extends to all aspects of winery operations, where energy efficiency, waste reduction, recycling and social responsibility are all integral to the culture. In early 2010, the winery received the CCSW certfication, one of the inaugural 18 wineries to earn that designation.
June 18, 2010
Livermore Valley Vineyards
Arroyo Seco Vineyards
Wente Family Estates Winery
Below is a sampling of the sustainable practices adopted by the Certified Participant. This is not an exhaustive list of the sustainable practices adopted, but is designed to give you some idea of the types of practices they use to demonstrate the breadth of practices that are included in their sustainability initiative. Please click on the photos to view a larger image.
- Wente Family Estates was one of the earliest growers to work with stylet oil, a combination of natural oils that eliminates powdery mildew. Under Karl Wente’s leadership as winemaker, Wente Family Estates has also experimented with other combinations of essential oils, predominantly clove, black pepper, and cinnamon to control pests.
- For more than 10 years, recycled, organic hydrolyzed fertilizer has been distributed through a drip irrigation system, eliminating the need for application by tractor. This results in less soil compaction and diesel combustion. The organic matter contains many strains of microbes, both bacterial and fungal, creating soils that are self-nourishing.
- Each year, Approximately 9000 tons of grape pomace is composted annually. Compost is incorporated into vineyards to increase the level of organic matter in the soil and improve the soil’s quality and water holding capacity.
- Cover crops are incorporated into the vineyard soil to improve its health and water holding capacity. Cover crops help create soils that become self -nourishing.
Vineyard Water Management
- Wente Family Estates predominantly uses drip irrigation to deliver the optimal amount of water to the vines at the most advantageous time. By using temperature and humidity data provided by on-site weather stations, and using UC Davis-developed mildew pressure models, the team knows when and where to spray, if at all, and chooses materials that are environmentally sound.
- Wente Family Estates encourages the growth of native grasses and beneficial broadleaf species. By maintaining an ecological balance in the vineyards, pests are naturally controlled. In 2000, Wente Vineyards was awarded the Integrated Pest Management Innovators Award by the California Environmental Protection Agency.
- The Course at Wente Vineyards has earned the designation of a “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary,” an Audubon International Program. The management at The Course is focused on several small habitat restoration projects and replanting of perennial native and drought tolerant plants in the gardens around the golf course. All organic matter is either composted on site or given over to the estate for their composting program, resulting in depreciated waste. Owl and Bluebird boxes on the course are used to control pests around the course
- The Wente family manages 1,600 acres of sustainable open range land not planted to vineyard, with 100 head of cattle providing grass management and soil fertilization.
- Dave Clausen, WFE Director of IT, has reduced his divisions PG&E energy consumption 40% by upgrading his virtual server capacity allowing him to eliminate 15 physical computer servers.
- New temperature/capacity sensors installed in the bottling room are saving heating energy as well as over 500 gallons of water per day.
Winery Water Conservation And Water Quality
- More than 10 million gallons of water used in the wine production facility are recycled and re-used each year to irrigate the vineyards and for dust control. This water treatment pond is on the property and contributes to the reclamation of all production water used in our facilities.
- Over 50,000 lbs. of cardboard are recycled each year.
- Plastics from used shrink wrap and label spools are gathered and recycled. More than 9000 lbs. are recycled annually.
- More than 50,000 lbs of glass bottles are collected and recycled from tasting rooms, restaurants, catering and concerts.
- As part of Wente Family Estates’ commitment to sustainable practices, all four tasting rooms are designated drop-off spots for Cork Reharvest, a program focused on collecting and recycling used corks. They are recycled into flooring tiles, building insulation, automotive gaskets, craft materials, soil conditioner, and sports equipment.
Environmentally Preferred Purchasing
- All new cardboard case boxes are purchased only from vendors using recycled products.
- Vendors use soy based ink for printing boxes.
Neighbors And Community
- At Wente Family Estates, sustainability also means community involvement. Fourth Generation Winegrowers Eric, Phil, and Carolyn Wente have served on the Board of Directors at the Wine Institute as well as for other various community organizations, including the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association, the Monterey Wine Country Association Board, and the ValleyCare hospital board and foundation, raising monies to support healthcare in the community.
- The Tri-Valley Conservancy's mission is "to permanently protect the fertile soils, rangelands, open space and biological resources, and to support a viable agricultural economy, in the Tri Valley area.” The Wente family has been instrumental in the development of this plan.
WENTE FAMILY ESTATES LIFESTYLE BUSINESSES:
- A full-time Master gardener tends the Wente Vineyards Restaurant’s extensive organic vegetable and herb gardens. The staff also utilizes a composting system to reduce waste and strengthen the soil. The Restaurant uses locally sourced, organically farmed and sustainably raised produce, fish, game and meat to supply both Restaurant and catering kitchens.
- Ash from the wood BBQ fire is used in the compost heap to bring down the acidity of the compost.
- Conversion of kitchen waste to biodiesel fuel by recycling oils from The Wente Restaurant, The Wente Grill and the Catering kitchen, as well as other restaurants in the community.
- Century old olive trees on the Wente Family Estate produce award winning, organically farmed, estate grown extra virgin olive oil.