Beringer Vineyards is one of the oldest wine estates in California, having been founded in 1876 by German immigrant brothers, Jacob and Frederick Beringer. The brothers wanted to create a wine estate like the kind they admired in the Rhine Valley, and the Victorian mansion they built on their new property remains one of the most picturesque mansions in the Napa Valley. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a California Historical Landmark. 1971 the Jacobs family sold the estate to the Nestle food group, and in 1996 the estate was purchased by Foster’s Group, an Australian conglomerate specializing in beer and soft drinks. In 2011 Foster's spun off the winemaking division, which is today called Treasury Wine Estates. Beringer owns 3,000 acres in Napa Valley and nearby areas, and produces nearly 500,000 cases annually. Beringer’s signatures wines are its Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignons and Chardonnays. For many years the highly regarded Ed Sbragia was Beringer’s winemaker. The chief winemaker is Mark Beringer, great-great-grandson of Jacob Beringer.
Napa Valley AVA is the most famous winemaking region in the United States and one of the most prestigious in the world. With nearly 43,000 acres of vineyards and more than 300 wineries, it is the heart of fine wine production in the United States. Winemaking started in Napa in 1838 when George C. Yount planted grapes and began producing wine commercially. Other winemaking pioneers followed in the late 19th century, including the founders of Charles Krug, Schramsberg, Inglenook and Beaulieu Vineyards. An infestation of phylloxera, an insect that attacks vine roots, and the onset of Prohibition nearly wiped out the nascent Napa wine industry in the early 20th century. But by the late 1950s and early 1960s Robert Mondavi and other visionaries were producing quality wines easily distinguishable from the mass-produced jug wines made in California’s Central Valley. Napa Valley’s AVA was established in 1983, and today there are 16 sub-appellations within the Napa Valley AVA. Many grapes grow well in Napa’s Mediterranean climate, but the region is best known for Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay is also very successfully cultivated, and about 30% of the AVA’s acreage is planted to white grapes, with the majority of those grapes being Chardonnay,