Saturday, August 15, 2015
Old World Wineries Inspire In New, Old Ways
Two remarkable wineries sit on opposite side of the Napa/Sonoma Valley.
Both have an old-world charm.
One is the oldest continously operated winery in the area while the other is new but combines a deliberately cultivated old-world feel with a dash of Hollywood and its accompanying sheen.
At Beringer (shown in the first five photos above) the heritage stems from a powerful brand with its roots in 1868, when Jacob Beringer, enticed by the opportunities of the new world, sailed from his home in Mainz, Germany, to New York. However, after hearing that the rocky hillside soil and fertile valley floor resembled that of vineyards back home in Germany, Jacob made his way to the Napa Valley. Jacob and his brother Frederick purchased 215 acres of land in 1875, and became one of the first wineries in Napa Valley.
Today, the name Beringer is synonymous with fine wine worldwide.
A visit to Beringer is an evocative step back in time, filled with the finer touches of an earlier era -- ivy-colored stone walls, rich woodwork, original fixtures and manicured gardens. This is a landmark property that often tops the list of those visiting Napa -- and with good reason.
Across the valley at the Francis Ford Copolla Winery (shown in the eight lower photos) you'll find a facility that incorporates every modern amenity and attraction. There's a swim club, cabanas, bocce courts, fountains, indoor and outdoor bars and tasting areas and an airy, woodsy restaurant called Rustic. On top of all this, there's a treasure trove of movie memorabilia: Copolla's Oscars, the Godfather's desk and chair, one of the original Tucker automobiles, costumes, photos, movie posters and high-end merchandise. Still, the Copolla winery takes care to incorporate elements of the family's Italian heritage. It's warm, wonderfully inviting and appropriately filigreed.
We highly recommend both of these wineries and their wines, which are sold just about everywhere.
We spent the better part of a day at each winery and had a wonderful time at both.