Thursday, December 20, 2012

In Vino Veritas

Beringer Vineyards founded 1876
Early this month, after attempting to divine the future of electronics manufacturing at a conference in the Silicon Valley, Terri and I decided to spend a day in the Napa valley. The Beringer Vinyards turned out to be ideal for enjoying the luxury of a far older technology.

Brothers Jacob and Frederick Beringer founded the vineyard in 1876, making it the oldest continuously operating vineyard in the United States. The tools of traditional wine making are preserved in the 19th century cellars.

Grape press at Beringer Vineyards
After the grape harvest, the grapes are pressed to squeeze the juice from the fruit.  The design of a grape press may have inspired the creation of the first printing press.

Fermentation barrels at Beringer Vineyards

 Sugars in the grapes convert to alcohol in these fermentation barrels. Today, the vineyard uses stainless steel fermentation vessels in a modern facility across the street.

Aging barrels in the cellar at Beringer Vineyards

Most red wines and some whites are aged in oak barrels. Over time, characteristics from the oak change the wine adding complexity in the flavor. For centuries, the aging took place in underground cellars to maintain a constant 58 degree temperature.

Dusty bottles in the cellar at Beringer Vineyards

The Beringer family's private wine collection is stored in these dusty bottles in the cellar.

Wine bottles lined up on a shelf in the gift shop

Before the wine bottles gather dust, they reflect and refract light in some very interesting ways.

The Rhine House at the Beringer Vineyards

The Rhine House is a beautiful 17 room mansion that was built by Frederick Beringer to recreate the family house on the Rhine River in Germany. Frederick and Jacob had emigrated from Germany in 1868.

Our day in the Napa valley was filled with wonderful sights and flavors.  Do you have a favorite valley?

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