Codorniu's Makeover a (Non-) Sparkling Success

    The first thing that strikes the typical visitor to Artesa Winery is the architecture.

     Located on the “Napa side” of the Carneros district, the 352-acre estate is surrounded by Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyards, and the entrance to the visitor center is designed to blend into the surrounding terrain harmoniously. Arching waters falling into tranquil pools impart a feeling of serenity and grandeur.

     At the heart of the visitor center is yet another peaceful place — the courtyard. On the terrace, visitors can soak in panoramic views of Carneros and the San Francisco Bay Area while sipping a glass of fine wine. The spectacular modernist interior, often compared to an art museum, is full of rich woods, expanses of glass and dozens of smooth columns.

     Artesa opened as Codorniu Napa in 1991, dedicated solely to methode champenoise sparkling wine production. But in 1997, with the arrival of a world-class winemaker and a $10 million conversion, the winery shifted focus dramatically. Artesa was born with the inaugural release of ultra-premium still wines in September 1999.

     Artesa (pronounced ahr-TESS-uh) means “craftsman” and connotes “handcrafted” in Catalan, the language of Barcelona and the estate’s owner, Codorniu, one of the world’s largest and oldest wine companies.

     The Codorniu Group consists of eight spectacular wineries producing bottlings that are enjoyed daily in more than 100 countries.

     So, while Artesa is among Napa’s newest estates, its heritage is rich, sharing five centuries of history with 15 generations of a remarkable winemaking family.

     Speaking of remarkable winemaking families, Artesa’s Vice President of Production and Winemaking is Mark Beringer, a fifth-generation winemaker from Napa Valley. Beringer is the great-great grandson of Beringer Winery co-founder Jacob Beringer, and has always aspired to make his contribution to California winemaking. He grew up immersed in the wine industry and knew from a very young age that winemaking was his calling.

     At 12, Mark went to work at his parents’ local wine shop, stocking shelves and dusting bottles. It was there that he quickly became versed in the complicated language of wine, only to discover that all wines are not created equal. Yearning for more hands-on experience, he went on to learn the ins and outs of bottling, sanitation, barrel work and harvesting while working at his uncle’s winery.

     After earning a B.S. in Enology at Fresno State, Mark joined the winemaking team at Glen Ellen Winery and spent the next year and a half learning the logistical side of winemaking at a larger volume winery.

     In 1992, he was recruited by Dan Duckhorn to join the Duckhorn Winery team as an enologist and to provide support to Tom Rinaldi. Mark welcomed the opportunity to return to the type of artisan winemaking he was so passionate about.

     When Duckhorn decided to expand its portfolio beyond the Bordeaux varieties in 1994, Mark was chosen to head up the project to launch Paraduxx, a unique blend of Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon, followed by Goldeneye, the winery’s Burgundy-style wines from Anderson Valley.

     In 1996, Mark was promoted to Vice President of Production. Two years later, he was named Winemaker, and in 2000, he was promoted to Director of Winemaking. During Mark’s tenure, Duckhorn garnered two Winery of the Year titles from Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine, and was named Regional Winery of the Year four times by Wine & Spirits Magazine.

     In 2008, Mark founded Mark Beringer Consulting, working on a variety of projects within the wine industry before joining Artesa Vineyards and Winery as Vice President of Production and Winemaking in February of this year.

     Under his watch, Artesa is dedicated to handcrafting small lots of ultra-premium still wines. From the finest vineyards and foremost appellations for each variety, Artesa creates several stylistically distinct bottlings.

     “Style by appellation is central to our winemaking philosophy,” Beringer notes. “There’s only one way to make great wine — with the finest grapes. We take a multi-appellation approach to winemaking. That vineyard and appellation philosophy is the foundation of all we do at Artesa.”

WINERY 4-1-1

Artesa Winery

1345 Henry Road

Napa, Calif.



Mark Beringer

Tasting Experiences:

‘The Reserve Experience

‘Vines and Wines’

‘Vino Con Queso’

‘The Ultimate Tasting’

Posted in Wineries of Distinction
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