STREET: 2000 Main Street
MAILING: P.O. Box 111
CITY/STATE: St. Helena, California 94574
WEB SITE: www.beringer.com
PHONE: (707) 963-7115 (Administration)
(707) 967-4412 (Tour Information)
FAX: (707) 259-4615
About Beringer Vineyards
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 136 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. www.beringer.com
DIRECTIONS Via Golden Gate Bridge/Hwy 101: From San Francisco, drive north on Hwy 101,
TO THE WINERY: crossing the Golden Gate Bridge to Novato. Take Hwy 37 (Napa) exit and continue east to Hwy 121 (Napa/Sonoma; left turn). Continue on Hwy 121 to Hwy 29. Turn left and follow signs north to St. Helena (approximately 22 miles). Beringer Vineyards is at the north end of St. Helena on the left-hand side of Hwy 29 (Main Street).
Via Bay Bridge/Hwy 80: From San Francisco, follow signs for Hwy 80 East (Sacramento) and cross the Bay Bridge. Go north on Hwy 80, crossing the Carquinez Straits Bridge. Five miles past the bridge, take the Hwy 37 (Napa/Columbus Pkwy) exit. Continue on Hwy 37 for about two miles, then turn right on Hwy 29, following signs to Napa. Continue on Hwy 29 to St. Helena (approximately 22 miles). Beringer Vineyards at the north end of St. Helena on the left-hand side of Hwy 29 (Main Street).
VISITOR Summer hours (June – October): 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Winter hours (November – May):
INFORMATION: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Historic Tour Charge: $10 per person, under 21 are free when accompanied by adults, but may not taste.
HISTORY & COMMITMENT TO QUALITY
Jacob Beringer left his home in Mainz, Germany, in 1868 to start a new life in the United States. His brother, Frederick, had preceded him by five years and wrote home constantly of the grand opportunities to be found in the vast new world. Frederick had settled in New York, but that life did not appeal to Jacob. Unlike his brother, Jacob Beringer enjoyed toiling in the cellars in his youth in Germany. He had heard that the warm, sunny climate of California was ideal for growing wine grapes, so in 1870 he traveled by train, first to San Francisco and then on to Napa Valley. To his delight, he discovered rocky, well-drained soils similar to those in his native Rhine Valley.
The volcanic soil was ideal for growing the varietal grapes of Europe’s winemaking regions, and, best of all, the hills could be dug out to provide storage and aging tunnels that would maintain the constant temperature needed to produce fine wines. Jacob bought land with Frederick in 1875 and settled into producing wines comparable to the premium wines he had developed in Europe. In 1876, they founded Beringer Winery.
The tedious task of hand-chiseling the rock tunnels was completed by Chinese workers and took several years to complete but rewarded the brothers with an extremely effective storing and aging facility that maintains a mean temperature of 58°F. Today, Beringer Vineyards continues to age fine wines in the tunnels they built, and the portal to the caves, the newly restored Old Stone Winery, is a popular focus for visitors.
While the winery was being built, Jacob took up residence in a farmhouse on the property built in 1848, now referred to as the “Hudson House.” Meticulously restored and expanded, the Hudson House serves today as Beringer Vineyards’ Culinary Arts Center. In 1883, Frederick began construction of the 17-room mansion which was to be Frederick’s home—a re-creation of the family home located on the Rhine River in Germany. The Rhine House underwent a multi-million dollar restoration in 2009 which restored the historic architecture and unique facets of the home, including 41 original stained glass windows. Frederick’s Rhine House is the center of Beringer’s reserve and library tastings, and guests can enjoy a glass of wine while relaxing on Frederick’s library or on his porch, overlooking expansive lawns and lush gardens.
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.
Each Beringer vineyard, with its own distinctive soil, climate and terrain, lends itself to particular varietals. The following vineyards have become recognized as primary sources of Beringer wines.
BALE LANE VINEYARD
The well-drained soils of this vineyard, located in the warmer, mid-valley climate area of Napa Valley, have produced excellent, full-flavored Sauvignon Blancs and Sémillons.
BIG RANCH ROAD VINEYARD
Located in the cool southern region of Napa Valley, this vineyard, with gravelly soil of limited depth and low fertility, produces Chardonnay, Merlot and Pinot Noir with full, rich flavors and excellent structure. Chardonnay from Big Ranch Road Vineyard is often selected for our Private Reserve Chardonnay.
These gently sloping, obsidian-laden hillside vineyards are located on the eastern slope of Napa Valley near St. Helena. The low-yielding vines produce superlative Cabernet Sauvignons of deep color and a rich flavor with a suggestion of mint.
GAMBLE RANCH VINEYARD
Emanating from the Rector Creek alluvial fan near Oakville, the rocky soil of this vineyard produces grapes of maturity and intensity well-suited to our barrel-fermented Chardonnay, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are also grown here.
BANCROFT RANCH VINEYARD
A beautiful, mountainous vineyard at an elevation of 1,800 feet on Howell Mountain, Bancroft Ranch produces intense Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc for use in our Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlots from this vineyard are dark and intense in varietal flavors and have also been bottled separately since 1987.
KNIGHTS VALLEY VINEYARD
Located 17 miles north of the winery, this vineyard has volcanic, well-drained soils that are perfectly suited to Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The Knights Valley designation was first used on a Beringer label in 1974. By 1983, this area had won official recognition as a premier wine growing region in the form of its own American Viticulture Area (AVA) designation.
Lampyridae, “firefly” in Latin, is on Mount Veeder, at approximately 2400 ft elevation. This picturesque vineyard is high above the fog layer and has longer hours of sunshine and warmer nights, but days are cooler than the lower elevation vineyards. On clear days you can see all the way to San Francisco. The newest vineyard in the Private Reserve components showcases incredible depth of flavor and intensity.
MARSTON RANCH VINEYARD
Volcanic in origin and low in fertility, the soils of this historic mountain vineyard have for decades been highly regarded for both Rhône and Bordeaux varietals, primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. The vineyard is actually a contiguous, multi-level string of smaller vineyard areas situated on the front and back sides of a hill in the Spring Mountain appellation just west of St. Helena.
The volcanic soil of this 20-acre hillside vineyard in the Rutherford district produces exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon fruit and a small amount of Cabernet Franc. Elevated on the eastern side of Napa Valley, this vineyard is exposed to bright afternoon sunlight until the sun sets behind the Mayacamas range in the west.
ST. HELENA HOME VINEYARD
This is the area that first attracted Jacob Beringer to the property more than 100 years ago. The Cabernet Sauvignon planted on the sloped alluvial fan of this vineyard has been a key component of our Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon since 1982.
STANLY RANCH VINEYARD
The shallow, clay-loam soils and cool climate of our Stanly Ranch Vineyard, located just a half-mile north of the San Pablo Bay in the prestigious Carneros appellation, are ideal for growing Chardonnay, Viognier and Pinot Noir grapes.
At an elevation of 1,800 feet on Howell Mountain, this vineyard of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc enjoys cool mountain temperatures and high solar radiation above the fog. The volcanic red soils are low in fertility and yield berries with intense flavor.
RANCHO DEL OSO
Located on Howell Mountain at approximately 1800 feet elevation and named for the red bears that swim in a nearby pond, this vineyard has red, volcanic soils that are friable and loose, with excellent drainage, and produces Cabernet fruit similar to Steinhauer Ranch.
This vineyard in the Yountville appellation in the southern area of the Napa Valley clay-loam soils with limited depth and low fertility. It produces great Chardonnay with full, rich flavors and excellent structure, as well as a very small amount of Riesling. Winemaster Ed Sbragia frequently selects Chardonnay from Yountville Vineyard for his Private Reserve Chardonnay blend.
Located in the northeastern corner of Sonoma County, Knights Valley is one of the rare unspoiled places of limitless beauty in Northern California. Small in size compared to other wine growing appellations, Knights Valley still has a bucolic feel featuring rolling hills that meander down into a rocky, alluvial valley floor where a grand river used to run. Beringer Vineyards has owned and farmed its Knights Valley vineyards since the mid-1960’s, when the Beringer family recognized that the cobbley, rocky alluvial soils were a great place to grow high quality wine grapes.
Experimentation with Knights Valley fruit began in the late seventies and the next decade was spent learning the vineyard’s personality and understanding the varied microclimates and alluvial soil types that occurred throughout the property. The winery was so enamored with the fruit emerging from this region that it worked with other growers from the area and petitioned for the establishment of a new appellation. The Knights Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area) was approved in 1982.
In the late 1980’s, when phylloxera necessitated replanting, Ed and Bob took advantage of the opportunity to incorporate all of the knowledge and technology that had been developed as a result of the recent renaissance in wine growing in Northern California, and restructured the vineyards block-by-block to maximize fruit quality and consistent ripening. Bob focused the plantings almost exclusively on Bordeaux varietals to match Knights Valley’s soil and climate conditions, and he instilled complexity by using multiple rootstocks and clones.
Over the years, Laurie has come to believe that Knights Valley is one of the best regions in California for growing Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc. With nearly 500 acres of wine grapes currently in production in Knights Valley, it is also a most suitable place to conduct a variety of viticultural experiments. To that end, Beringer has set up several different trellising systems, and is experimenting with various methods of pruning and canopy management. These vineyard experiments are completed at Beringer’s research winery in St. Helena, which is actually a small “winery within a winery”. It is there that small lots of wine are vinified separately, so that the differences between them can be measured and qualified. Of course experiments such as these take years to complete, and this is one of the reasons why Beringer’s long-term commitment to Knights Valley is so important. Knights Valley is farmed sustainably and has been for decades, long before it was in vogue. Fish-friendly farming, sustainable farming practices and protection of natural habitats for the wildlife are all administered by a vineyard team that has been working together for more than 10 years in Knights Valley.
CHRONOLOGY OF BERINGER VINEYARDS
1875: The 215-acre property Jacob Beringer purchased on Sept. 3, 1875 for $14,500 is still the heart of the Beringer Vineyards’ Napa Valley estate. The purchase included a two-story farmhouse (the current Hudson House) and a 28-acre vineyard that was already planted with White Riesling, Chappelt and Cabernet Sauvignon (St. Helena Home Vineyard, now 48 acres).
1876: Jacob and Frederick Beringer established Beringer Brothers Winery. 1876 was their first harvest. The crush resulted in 40,000 gallons (approximately 18,000 cases).
1877: The stone, gravity-flow winery was completed in 1877 (with the top floor added several years later). Jacob Beringer built his stone cellar and employed Chinese laborers to dig approx. 1,000 linear feet of aging tunnels so he could control every aspect of the winemaking process through bottling to insure that every bottle of Beringer wine met his high standards of quality.
1878: Jacob left his position as winery foreman at Charles Krug Winery to run Beringer Brothers full time.
1880: The top story of the winery was built. A steam-operated stemmer-crusher was custom made for Beringer in Vallejo by John Healle.
1885: The brothers planted the tunnel of Elm trees along the road in front of Beringer. The Elms are still a Napa Valley landmark today.
1901: After a long battle with Bright’s disease, Frederick Beringer passed away at his St. Helena home on July 12, 1901. His widow Bertha moved to San Francisco and sold their shares of the winery to Jacob to continue the winery operations.
1915: After two years of failing health, the remaining founder Jacob Beringer, Sr. passed away on October 23, 1915.
1916: At the beginning of 1916, Charles and Bertha Beringer found themselves the youthful managers of one of California’s most distinguished wineries and with the challenge to continue with the Beringer tradition. While other cellars failed, quiet but tenacious Bertha Beringer managed her winery through the industry’s greatest crisis.
1918: Prohibition was enacted. 200 acres of vineyards were farmed during these years as Beringer continued annual production of about 15,000 cases of “altar” wines until 1933 when Prohibition was repealed. Varieties grown were Sauvignon Vert, Johannisberg Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Alicante, Golden Chasselas, Semillon, Gutedel, Green Hungarian and Burger.
1919: While most wineries in Napa Valley were suffering through the tragedy of prohibition, Beringer found a niche of shipping dried wine grapes which would help them survive the next decade.
1920: While other cellars failed, quiet but tenacious Bertha Beringer managed her winery through the industry’s greatest crisis.
1929: Jacob Beringer, Jr. retired and continued to live in his bungalow on the north end of the property.
1932: Fred Abruzzini was hired as winemaker.
1934: Beringer Brothers became the first winery to open its doors to the public for guided tours and sales. “Little tastes” were not offered until Fred Abruzzini retired in 1956. Fred’s vision to draw tourists to Napa Valley included hosting a vast array of Hollywood stars, which resulted in a significant amount of publicity.
The Rhine House was operated as an inn called “The Country Manor.”
After Charles T’s death in the mid-50’s, his sister Bertha was named president of the company.
1956: Roy Raymond, Sr. succeeded Fred Abruzzini as winemaker. He began working at the winery as a young man (1933) and ultimately married Martha Jane Beringer. He continued as winemaker until Beringer was sold to Nestle in 1971.
1961: Beringer family purchased Knights Valley vineyards.
In the mid-1960’s, Bertha Beringer died and Otto, Jr. succeeded her as President.
1972: After being restored in 1971, the Rhine House was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The stained glass windows in the house are considered very rare and valuable. Beringer begins farming Gamble ranch.
1973: Myron began aging Chardonnay in small French oak barrels. Beringer began farming Bale Lane Vineyard.
1976: Beringer celebrated its centennial with two special bottlings: 1974 Chardonnay and 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon from St. Helena Home vineyard. Ed Sbragia was hired as assistant winemaker.
1980: First releases of Private Reserve wines (1978 Private Reserve Chardonnay and 1977 Private Reserve Cabernet, Lemmon Ranch, now known as Chabot) won gold medals at the Orange County Fair.
1986: Laurie joins Beringer as enologist.
1988: A fountain celebrating the first grapes planted in Napa Valley 150 years earlier was installed behind Rhine House by sculptor Ruth Asawa
1989: The Hudson House was remodeled and became the culinary center and home of Madeleine Kamman’s School for American Chefs. The culinary program had begun in 1984. Beringer began farming Tre Colline (then known as Terre Rouge) Vineyard.
1990: Beringer 1986 Cabernet Sauvignon is named #1 Wine of the Year in 1990 by Wine Spectator.
1996: Beringer 1994 Chardonnay is named #1 Wine of the Year in 1996 by Wine Spectator (the first time a white has garnered this coveted award). Beringer now has the distinction of being the first and only winery to have both a white and a red wine named #1 Wine of the Year.
1996: Texas Pacific Group purchased Beringer Wine Estates, a group of California wineries that included Beringer Vineyards.
2000: A major restoration of the grounds, Rhine House and winery began. Beringer Wine Estates was purchased by Fosters Brewing Group.
2001: Beringer Vineyards celebrated 125-years as oldest continuously operating winery in Napa Valley
2003: Beringer Vineyards renamed a key Howell Mountain vineyard, Tre Colline, “Steinhauer Ranch,” in honor of Bob Steinhauer
2004: Maximus, the world’s largest bottle of wine, is certified by the Guiness Book of World Records. The bottle contained 173 bottles of Beringer 2001 Private Reserve Cabernet.
2008: Laurie Hook named Chief Winemaker, Ed Sbragia named Winemaster Emeritus.
2009: The Rhine House undergoes a dramatic restoration, reinstating the grandeur of Frederick Beringer’s original home and the crown jewel of the Beringer estate.
For more information please contact :
Treasury Wine Estates. Phantipa Khongkachonkiet, Country Sales Manager – Thailand, Email; Phantipa.firstname.lastname@example.org