The epitome of a modern classic, Beringer has been Napa Valley’s benchmark producer since its establishment in 1876. Winemaker Laurie Hook crafts classic wines from Napa’s finest appellations and Beringer’s exceptional collection of vineyards. A winemaking legacy of 134 years is reflected in an acclaimed portfolio of wines which are collected worldwide. The historic estate in St. Helena offers a tradition of hospitality that defines the Napa Valley.
Beringer Vineyards is the oldest continuously operating winery in the Napa Valley, and in 2001, the estate was placed on the National Register for Historic Places as an Historic District. Jacob Beringer’s foresight in recognizing the quality and potential of grape growing in the Napa Valley is part of the living heritage of Beringer Vineyards. With the present use of state-of-the-art technology applied to age-old traditions, Beringer Vineyards’ wines continue to reflect a single-minded dedication to the making of memorable wines from great Napa Valley vineyards.
In 1971, in a push toward building the quality of its wines, Beringer hired veteran winemaker Myron Nightingale. Myron modernized the winemaking facility, bringing in temperature-controlled steel tanks and replacing the winery’s old barrels with new French oak. With long-range vision, he also insisted on upgrading and expanding the vineyards because of his belief that great wines begin on the vines.
To recognize the better quality of fruit becoming available to him, Myron began making limited production wines, including a 1973 Centennial Cabernet Sauvignon and a 1974 Centennial Chardonnay. Both wines were released in 1976 to celebrate Beringer’s 100th birthday.
Edward Sbragia joined Beringer as Myron’s assistant in 1976 and, with his mentor’s blessing, began experimenting with fermenting Chardonnay in small French oak barrels and other techniques not widely used in California at the time. And when Beringer first acquired Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from the Lemmon Ranch (later called Chabot Vineyard) in 1977, Myron and Ed knew they had the makings of a distinctive Cabernet Sauvignon in a big, rich style, and they kept the lot separate from grapes from other vineyards.
The 1978 Private Reserve was released to even greater critical acclaim. In subsequent years, Beringer has achieved a Private Reserve with every vintage. Each vintage has produced different fruits, different flavors and a different challenge to the team as they make their critical decisions about viticulture, fruit maturity, oak selection and assemblage.
Today, Laurie carries on the exemplary standard of quality, consistency and balance that the Beringer Private Reserve is known for worldwide. After over two decades producing these reserve wines, her goal remains unchanged from those that preceded her: to make the best Cabernet Sauvignon that Napa Valley can produce – an achievement that has surpassed even Jacob Beringer’s ambitious early vision for the winery.