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Sunday at Beringer Vineyards saw a special celebration of the winery’s Founder’s Day marking the 141st year of the winery’s founding by Jacob and Frederick Beringer in 1876.

It was also an occasion to celebrate Chief Winemaker Mark Beringer’s 50th birthday.

Beringer Vineyards is the oldest “continuously operated winery” in the Napa Valley, but the winery has gone through a number of owners since the family sold the Beringer name and winery to Nestlé in 1971. Today, the winery is owned by Treasury Wine Estates. The winery is listed on the National Register of Historical Places and is a California Historic Landmark.

At the Founder’s Day celebration, there was live music performed by San Francisco-based JazzUnlimited, and a brief ceremony welcoming and recognizing Beringer Vineyards Wine Club and Legacy Club members. There was also a Vineyard Walk of the original estate, and a historical lecture by Mariam Hansen of the St. Helena Historical Society titled “Beringer Beginnings: Napa Valley Circa 1876.” In addition, there were tours of the wine caves and the iconic Rhine House stained glass windows.

At 11:30 a.m., Chief Winemaker Mark Beringer conducted a special “Generations Tasting” of library wines. Beringer was joined by his parents Fred and Cathy Beringer for the tasting.

Mark Beringer is the great-great-grandson of Beringer Vineyards’ founding brother Jacob Beringer. He has been chief winemaker at Beringer Vineyards since 2015, having built his own winemaking career at Benziger, Duckhorn, and Artesa.

Finally, the occasion of the winemaker’s 50th birthday was too good to pass up, and the winery combined the Founder’s Day celebration with a surprise birthday party for the 50-year-old Beringer. A special wine bottle-shaped cake was brought out and served to guests on the winery lawn.



Tom Stockwell is currently a staff writer for the St. Helena Star. He is an author of fiction and non-fiction books and has been a working journalist for a variety of technical publications as well as a consultant for numerous wineries in the Napa Valley.