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The Most Historic Vineyard in California

 The Legend:

Charles Wetmore, a San Francisco journalist, founded the Cresta Blanca Vineyard in 1880. The 480 acre site is named for a spectacular white limestone cliff that dominates the Livermore Valley landscape. The vines were planted in a natural amphitheater below the cliff with cuttings from Chateau d'Yquem and other Bordeaux estates. The soil is thin, iron-rich clay, underlain by 20-30 feet of gravel subsoil. Wines produced from Cresta Blanca won two gold medals at the 1889 Paris Exposition and were nationally famous prior to Prohibition.

Following the repeal of Prohibition, Clarence Wetmore, the younger brother of Charles, reestablished the vineyard and continued to produce red and white Bordeaux style wines at the highest level of quality available in America.

In 1941 the Cresta Blanca estate and trade name were sold to Schneley. In 1965 the Cresta Blanca winery and the limestone aging tunnels were closed. In 1971 the Cresta Blanca name was sold to the Guild Wine Company.

The Cresta Blanca vineyard was subsequently acquired by the Wente family. The vineyards and limestone tunnels were restored and are now the site of the Wente sparkling wine production facility and restaurant. The vineyard is principally planted with red Bordeaux varieties and is overseen by estate Angus cattle that graze on the golden hills encircling the white face of Cresta Blanca.





The grape source is the Wente Cresta Blanca Vineyard located in the Livermore Valley. The Cabernet Sauvignon vines were planted in the 1980s. The soil is thin, iron-rich clay, underlain by 20-30 feet of gravel subsoil.

Winemaking and Cellar Practices:

The mature fruit (22.5 Brix) was hand-picked, sorted and crushed. The must was fermented on the skins in wooden cuves for three weeks. The cap was punched down by hand twice each day. The wine was gently pressed, settled, and transferred to one hundred percent new French oak barrels. Following completion of the malolactic fermentation, the wine was racked and returned to barrel. The wine was aged in all new French oak barrels for a total of four years. The wine was bottled without fining or filtration in June of 1994.


Four years of barrel aging and two years of bottle aging have developed a bouquet that is intense, complex and elegant. The flavors are richly textured, silky and "crisp." The particular vineyard characteristics are reminiscent of warm summer fruits -- red plums and black cherries -- cedar, and the aromas from a fine cigar box.

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Last modified: October 10, 2009