Mark Beringer, great-great-grandson of Beringer Vineyards' founding brother Jacob Beringer, was immersed in wine from the moment he was born in the heart of the Napa Valley. As the direct descendant to Beringer's first winemaker and one of the most iconic family names in Napa Valley wine history, he knew from a young age that he would follow in the footsteps of his ancestors. As a young man he spent many hours working in his family's wine store in St. Helena, expanding his knowledge of wine as well as gaining an appreciation for wines outside of the famous region he has always called home.
After a stint in high school working as a stock clerk at the historical family property at Beringer, Mark graduated from California State University in Fresno with an Enology degree in 1990. Eager to immerse himself in winemaking, he spent a year in the cellars at Benziger in Sonoma and then joined Duckhorn in 1992. Mark began as Enologist and worked his way up to Vice President of Winemaking at Duckhorn. In 2009 Mark joined Artesa as Vice President and Winemaker.
In 2015, Mark Beringer came 'home' to Beringer Vineyards, joining as Chief Winemaker and following in the footsteps of acclaimed Winemaker Emeritus Laurie Hook. 'I'm absolutely thrilled to be making wines for the very winery that my ancestor built, and be part of the next chapter in this important story of Beringer and of the Napa Valley." notes Mark. Proud father to three daughters, Mark enjoys mountain biking and skiing in his free time as well as traveling with his wife, a commercial pilot. Always happy to return home to the Napa Valley, he adds, "As a winemaker, there is no greater thrill than having great vineyards to work with and Beringer's are second to none. The diversity of microclimates, terroir and locations truly comprise the best of what Napa Valley has to offer and I'm honored to work with them."
Laurie Hook, Beringer's Winemaker Emeritus, began her career in the winemaking program at University of California at Davis, which is noted for training some of the best winemakers around the world. Upon graduating in 1984, she traveled to Australia to work at a small winery. After returning to work a harvest in Sonoma, Laurie came to Beringer as an enologist in 1986, a job that allowed her to solidify the scientific side of her training. In 1997, she was named Assistant Winemaker to Beringer Winemaster Ed Sbragia, and in 2000 she was promoted to Winemaker for Beringer Vineyards. "Ed was a great mentor—he showed me the importance of being true to oneself and that while the scientific part of winemaking is important (and fun), it is just as essential to trust your instincts." Laurie lead our winemaking team for 15 years before transitioning to winemaker Emeritus in 2015.
At Beringer we know that part of making great wines is caring for the land, animals, and people that make those wines possible. We have had sustainable practices in place since long before sustainable farming become fashionable. All of our owned and leased vineyards are certified sustainable by third parties, and we provide our external growers with the resources they need to achieve sustainable farming practices.
So, why just sustainable rather than organic or biodynamic? We chose to farm sustainably because it is all-encompassing. It applies not only to the farming practices in the vineyard, but also the surrounding environment, community, and economy. It covers everything from soil and canopy management, planting developments, water and chemical usage to employee benefits and more. In short, sustainability is about smart farming. It encourages best practices that ensure the longevity of the vineyard and optimization of the quality of the grapes and wine.