Founded in 1876, Beringer is the oldest continuously operating vineyard in the Napa Valley. Brothers Jacob and Frederick Beringer chose Napa for its rocky, well-drained soil, reminiscent of the land in their native Germany.
Fast forward to 2012: Beringer's Winemaker Emeritus, Ed Sbragia, departed for a new project, leaving longtime co-winemaker Laurie Hook in charge. Hook, a native of Sacramento, graduated from the winemaking program at the University of California at Davis in 1984. She cut her teeth in Australia and Sonoma before arriving at Beringer in 1986. In 1997, she was named assistant winemaker to Sbragia and in 2000 was promoted alongside him to full winemaker.
Beringer makes wines from its fourteen different vineyards throughout Napa Valley. The Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, decadently rich and sweet in the early going but with a track record for aging well, is harvested primarily from the St. Helena Home Vineyard and the Bancroft Ranch Vineyard on Howell Mountain. Grapes in the Private Reserve Chardonnay come from Big Ranch Road Vineyard and Yountville Vineyard, both located in southern Napa Valley. Other varieties grown by Beringer include Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Viognier.
Beringer is now Beringer Blass, owned by Foster's Group of Australia, who purchased Beringer in an unprecedented $1.5 billion dollar deal, merging it with its Mildara Blass wine division. Today, Beringer Blass's portfolio has expanded to include such wineries as Chateau St. Jean, Chateau Souverain, Meridian, St. Clement, Stags' Leap Winery, Etude, Wolf Blass, Greg Norman Estates, Jamiesons Run, Black Opal, Castello di Gabbiano and Campanile.