“American Wine Legend of the Year”

Carolyn Wente has been named “American Wine Legend of the Year” by the Wine Enthusiast in recognition of her lifelong leadership as a woman in a male-dominated industry, her faith in her family business and for maintaining a level head during difficult times. 

In the opinion of the Wine Enthusiast these qualities make her ‘’a true wine industry legend’’.

Carolyn is also the first woman ever to be recognised for this award, making it a particularly significant achievement for her and the Wente family.

In the early 1980s Carloyn was among the first women to take a leading role at a major California winery and was instrumental in reshaping the family business, which at the time was respected for its viticultural l leadership but perceived ‘stodgy’.

Beginning at age 25, rising to the role of CEO, and now serving as 4th generation winegrower and board chairman, Carolyn took seriously the job of strengthening the Wente brand, preparing to turn it over in good health to the fifth generation.

In the 1980s and 1990s she led several initiatives in direct-to-consumer marketing that hundreds of other wineries are following today. She began bringing more consumers to Livermore with a new culinary garden, a restaurant serving farm-to-table cuisine, a golf course designed by Greg Norman and outdoor concerts, with big names like James Taylor, Cheryl Crow and Elvis Costello.

Carolyn’s leadership over the decades has helped keep Wente wines popular and the winery in the family’s hands, while so many other family wineries were sold to the highest bidders.