Wente Vineyards was founded by C. H. Wente, a first-generation immigrant from Germany, in 1883. Recognizing that the warm days, cool nights and gravelly soils of the Livermore Valley were ideal for growing grapes, he purchased 48 acres and planted vineyards. Continuing the 125+ years legacy, the winery is managed today by the Fourth Generation of the Wente family, Eric, Philip, Carolyn, and the Fifth Generation, Christine and Karl. Arroyo Seco is widely regarded as one of the best places in California to grow Chardonnay and Riva Ranch is the name of the Wente family’s vineyard in Arroyo Seco, where they have been growing Chardonnay since the 1960’s. In 1936 Wente were, in fact, the first California winery to produce a wine actually labeled as Chardonnay and today many of the great Chardonnay vineyards in California are planted with the Wente Clone.
The Riva Ranch vineyards is perfect for growing Pinot Noir because of the long, cool growing season, which allows the grapes to fully ripen and develop deep fruit flavors. The gravelly-loam soils found here, rich with shale and limestone deposits, impart desirable earthy and mineral qualities to the wine. Wente have 8 different clones of Pinot Noir planted in the Riva Ranch vineyard – Pommard, Martini, 114, 115, 667, 777, 828, and 77 – these all lend particular characteristic, aromas and flavours to the the wine.
Wente Vineyards Riva Ranch Pinot Noir is fermented in small stainless steel tanks and pumped over twice daily to maximize the extraction of all the wonderful flavors, aromas, and textures. The wine is then aged for 16 months in 50% new French oak and 50% neutral oak barrels. The 2017 vintage is dominated by their heritage clones, Pommard and Martini. Pommard is especially fruit-driven providing bright lusciousness while Martini is more subtle with layered complexity on the nose and silky texture on the palate