The Finer Things In Life – Karl Wente of Wente Vineyards

One of the best-kept secrets of the San Francisco Bay Area is Wente Vineyards, the oldest continuously operated family winery in the United States. Founded in 1883 in Livermore, Calif., the winery spans nearly 3,000 acres in Livermore, with smaller vineyards in Arroyo Seco, Monterey.

Fifth-generation winemaker Karl Wente now carries his family’s legacy. He has taken the reins to oversee all winemaking production, which includes the farming of 32 cultivars of grapes. Wente, who holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Stanford and Master’s degrees in Viticulture and Enology from UC Davis, is also a musician, basketball player, and an avid yoga practitioner. Whether he’s handcrafting a new blend or keeping a low profile at his Livermore home, Wente is doing what makes him happy.

 At the end of the day, I sit on my porch with my guitar and a glass of wine.

6:30am – 7am: This is the time I wake up and my dogs let me know they want to be fed. Then I go upstairs and do five to fifteen minutes of yoga.

7am – 9am: I go into the winery to check on things, to see if there are any issues or concerns. I check on how bottling is going and make sure things are lined up.

9am – Noon: When I’m in town, I oversee 60 SK Us (stock-keeping units) of wine. I try to taste in the morning; I taste for reviewing and to see how they are in terms of oak aging. Or we’ll have entire blending days where we make the blends and then taste them through.

Noon – 4:30pm: In the afternoon, I usually grab lunch at the “roach coach” burrito place. Sometimes at lunch I’ll play basketball instead, or maybe I’ll get a run in. It all depends on the day of the week. Some days, I’ll drive through vineyard with our farming team and talk about how we’re pruning our vines to set up for the next season. We’re already thinking about the 2013 vintage.

5pm – Bedtime: I’ll try to make a 5pm yoga class. If not, I get to a 6pm yoga class. Afterward, I take the dogs for the walk. Sometimes I’ll go back to work after that.

At the end of the day, I sit on my porch with my guitar and a glass of wine.