Jun 1, 2010

Wente Vineyards: CalTIA Winery of the Year

The California Travel Industry Association has announced its 2010 CalTIA Industry Awards, which recognize achievements and commitment to sustainability, innovation, stewardship and good citizenship in the development and promotion of California tourism.

Winery of the Year

The CalTIA Winery of the Year, Wente Vineyards of Livermore Valley, was founded in 1883 by Carl Wente. Now run by the fourth and fifth Wente generations, it's the country's oldest, continually-operated, family-owned winery, blending traditional and innovative wine-making practices and sustainably farming on 3,000 acres of Estate vineyards.

Official CalTIA notes about the Award point to "the winery's contribution to developing the California Tourism brand. The award recognizes innovation, success and commitment to the travel industry." CalTIA also cited Wente's Farming for the Future program of sustainable viticultural practices designed to produce high-quality wines with the least environmental impact. Sustainable philosophies extend into all aspects of the business.

Last year's Winery of the Year was the Mendocino Wine Company.  Previous winners include Chateau Montelena, Korbel Champagne Cellars, and Ridge Vineyards.

Chef of the Year

Since you're reading the Culinary Gadabout, you'll also be interested to learn that Suzanne Goin received CalTIA's Chef of the Year award. Goin and her Los Angeles restaurants (The A.O.C., Lucques, Tavern, and The Hungry Cat) have won many previous awards, including the coveted James Beard designation as Best Chef (2006).

That same year Goin's cookbook, Sunday Suppers at Lucques, was nominated as Best Cookbook from a Professional Viewpoint by the James Beard Foundation. Goin has been described as the "picture-perfect California chef, demonstrating outstanding passion and skill in using only the best ingredients, combining them to give any diner an unforgettable experience."

The 2009 Chef of the Year was Bradley Ogden of Marin County's Lark Creek Inn. Previous winners have included Julia Child, Thomas Keller, Michael Mina, and Gary Danko. 

Tourism Steward and Tourism Champion

Two other awards were given this year by CalTIA:
  • The Steward of the Year award was given to Bill Lane & the Lane Family of Sunset Magazine.
  •  The Tourism Champion of the Year is Huell Howser, host of the California Gold TV series.

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