The Fruit Whisperer: California Vineyards Speak in Beringer Wine Tasting

Laurie Hook Beringer’s Chief Winemaker, Laurie Hook, leads our team tasting of an impressive line-up of red and white wines from select vineyards of California’s Napa and Sonoma Valleys.

Laurie’s Hippy Approach to Winemaking … aka The Fruit Whisperer

Ship groupA-oiy! Look out for that ship bearing down on you at 70 knots, setting a course right through your Chardonnays! Our shipshape crew on deck for this tasting:

Jennifer MacDonald, Wine Writer, Ottawa Citizen

Jane Staples, Wine Writer, Windsor Star and Ottawa Wedding Magazine

Matt Steeves, Wine Expert, CTV Morning Live

Heather Wall, Wine Writer, Huffington Post Canada

Monique Ippolito, Wine Writer, Ottawa Family Living Magazine

Doug McMillan, Wine Writer, Forever Young Magazine

Sean O’Regan, Director, National Capital Sommelier Guild

Craig Kuziemsky, University of Ottawa Management Professor and Wine Blogger

Donna Hargrove, Wine Blogger and Tasting Group Co-ordinator

Geoff Lindsay, Wine Director, The Shore Club

Jon Steeves, Accredited Sommelier

Terry Jeans, National Capital Sommelier Guild

Nick Onischuk, Accredited Sommelier

Mary Anne van Gaal, Wine Blogger and Tasting Group Co-ordinator

You can also watch videos from our previous team tastings with Wolf Blass, Errazuriz, Kim Crawford and Ruffino, among many others.

Team long tableGreat perspective on Beringer wines … the long view ;)

The Luminus Chardonnay comes from a newer, cooler sub-appellation of the Napa Valley near Carneros, and why that results in a more elegant style of wine. Love her geek speak!


Winemaker Laurie Hook talks about her favourite and most unusual pairing for Beringer Chardonnay discovered during a trip to Helsinki, Finland.

Beringer Vineyards has been making wine for more than 138 years. In 1868, founder Jacob Beringer, sailed from Mainz, Germany, to New York, and then made the journey across the country to California’s Napa Valley.

In 1875, Jacob and his brother Frederick bought 215 acres of land and established one of the first wineries in Napa.

Laurie Hook describes the beauty of driving through the rolling Knights Valley.

Laurie first became interested in winemaking when she discovered that her ancestors had been involved in viticulture in France before the Revolution.

After she graduated from the renowned oenology program at University of California Laurie Hook winemakerat Davis in 1984, she worked in a small Australian winery, assisting with all aspects including pruning vines, driving the tractor, harvesting grapes, making and bottling the wine, and even selling it.

In 1986, Laurie returned home, and became an enologist at Beringer. In 1997, she was appointed Assistant Winemaker to Beringer Winemaster Ed Sbragia, and in 2000, she became Winemaker for Beringer Vineyards, where she has been leading the team for the last 13 years.


ship photoWe’re actually in the Shore Club’s Port Room for a tasting voyage of the senses.


Why did Californian Merlot Suffer with the Sideways Movie?

Salmon course

Laurie talks about the food and wine pairing chart on the winery’s web site to help consumers find great combinations based on the food’s primary flavours: sweet, salty, bitter, sour or umami.


shrimp starter

Laurie talks about the old vine character of Beringer Private Reserve Chardonnay



What is the impact of the California draught on Beringer Vineyards?

Beringer literature

An overview of Beringer Chardonnays.

Team tasting

Standing room only … the tasting organizers were happy (and gracious) about a completely full house.

Laurie talks about how mobile apps and GPS technology helps manage the vineyards. Love it!

Beringer wines

Can wine vies actually grow in volcanic soil?

Beringer winery
Beringer Winery in Napa Valley

How long should you age Beringer wines?

What does texture to wine, not just food?

Beringer Waymaker Red: The meatiness of Paso Robles wines

Here are all of the wines that we tasted:



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