Several years ago, I surprised my husband with tickets to the U.S. Open Golf Championship at Pebble Beach for the two of us to enjoy over Father’s Day. We upped the ante by renting a fifth-wheel trailer to golf and wine-taste our way from Orange County to the Monterey Coast. Each evening we’d crack open a bottle of wine, purchased that day directly from the vineyard. We’d toast to our fairly bad golf game, our few days away from the kids, and a chance to grill under the stars with sore feet and stiff golf backs. Golf and wine go hand in hand for many of us, with the likes of Greg Norman and Ernie Els even producing their own wines. A round of golf is best appreciated with lively banter and big glass of wine on the 19th hole.
While recently researching the Wente Chardonnay clone (about 80 percent of California chardonnays are grown from the family’s original Wente clone), I discovered that Wente has its own golf course intermingled amongst its vineyards at its estate in Livermore. I love this! I would love a round of golf framed by the vines, followed by a wine-tasting, and a lively dinner in the club house. This would make for a perfect day, just as we had created for ourselves en route to the U.S. Open. Curious about the origins of golf at Wente Vineyards, I asked fifth-generation winemaker Karl Wente a few questions.
Whose idea was a golf course tucked amongst the vineyards?
My father Eric, my Aunt Carolyn, and my Uncle Phil wanted to bring together both wine and wine-country experiences. They also wanted to showcase Livermore Valley as a destination. In addition to establishing a music concert venue and restaurant, they partnered with golfing legend Greg Norman to design a beautiful 18-hole championship golf course that opened in 1998 and is enjoyed by both novice and pro.
Does golf run in the Wente family as does the passion for wine?
My Uncle Phil is the best golfer among us, but we all play and enjoy the game.
Which Wente wine do you enjoy on the 19th hole?
Nth Degree Chardonnay … It’s the perfect ending to a perfect day.
If you could gift a bottle of Wente Vineyards wine to the U.S. Open Champion this weekend, which would you choose?
The Charles Wetmore Cabernet Sauvignon from our single vineyard… a beautiful and elegant wine that is fitting for a champion.
In honor of the U.S. Open this weekend, I’ll be cracking open the Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay ($15) and the Wente Eric’s Unoaked Chardonnay ($25), both available at Sprout’s and BevMo throughout Orange County. Wente is also poured at one of my favorite Orange County golf courses, Arroyo Trabuco Golf Course. Play a round of golf early, order a bottle of Wente, and watch the final holes of the U.S. Open!