Jun 15, 2005Eric WenteSAN FRANCISCO - Eric P. Wente, Chairman of Wente Vineyards in Livermore, California, was elected Board Chairman of the Wine Institute for the 2005-2006 fiscal year beginning July 1 at the 71st Annual Wine Institute Membership Meeting, held at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco yesterday. Wine Institute's new board of 40 directors also elected other officers: Paul Dolan of Mendocino Wine Company in Ukiah, first vice chairman; Jay Indelicato of Delicato Vineyards, headquartered in Napa, second vice chairman; Margaret Duckhorn of Duckhorn Vineyards in St. Helena, treasurer; and Raymond Chadwick of Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines, headquartered in Napa, secretary.
As a fourth-generation winegrower, Wente was raised at the winery and learned the art of winemaking from his father and grandfather. He developed his modern winemaking methods during chemistry studies at Stanford University and at the University of California at Davis, where he received a masters of science degree in food science, specializing in enology. In his role as Wente's Chairman, he oversees the family's diverse operations, which includes the winery and vineyards, restaurant, golf course, a land and vineyard development company, and a working cattle ranch. Wente's leadership has brought innovative winemaking practices to the winery, construction of state-of-the-art facilities and an overall increase in production. He is responsible for Wente Vineyard's expansion into worldwide export markets. Today, the winery exports to more than 100 countries.
In accepting the Wine Institute chairmanship, Wente highlighted support for Wine Institute's efforts to liberalize wine commerce both in the U.S. and abroad, including ongoing trade negotiations with the European Union. He pointed to the Institute's work on wine labeling proposals and tax issues. Wente also advocates increased industry adoption of sustainable winegrowing practices and building California's reputation as the leader in this area through the continued development of the Sustainable Winegrowing Practices program.
Wente and his wife, Arel, have two children—Christine, the winery's vice president of marketing, and Karl, now leading the winemaking team at Wente Vineyards as vice president of winemaking.
The Wine Institute is the public policy advocacy group for California wineries and affiliated businesses, which now has a record 845 members accounting for 95 percent of California wine production and 85 percent of U.S. wine production. Based in San Francisco, with offices in Sacramento, Washington, D.C., six regions across the U.S. and 10 foreign countries, the Wine Institute is guided by 80 vintners who are members and alternates of an active board of directors. The board elects the chairman and officers on an annual basis. Robert P. Koch is President and CEO of Wine Institute.