Veteran Beringer winemaker Ed Sbragia is handing over winemaking duties to his deputy Laurie Hook.

Sbragia, who has been at Beringer 32 years and is considered a giant of the Napa wine industry, will continue on as Winemaker Emeritus, but he will be devoting most of his attention to his family winery located in Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley.

‘Ed has set it up so that I can continue to make the great wines that we’re known for, and luckily he’s still around. It’s a great spot to be in,’ Hook – of 22 years standing at Beringer – said.

Ed Sbragia began at Beringer Vineyards in 1976 under the tutelage of legendary Beringer winemaker Myron Nightingale.

When Nightingale retired in 1984, Sbragia was promoted to the lead winemaking role and has garnered numerous awards for Beringer wines during his tenure at California’s oldest continuously operating winery.

Sbragia launched his family estate winery in 2004. Sbragia Family Vineyards is entirely family-owned, although the wines are marketed through Beringer and its parent company, Fosters.

‘I’m not really leaving,’ says Sbragia. ‘I’m just expanding my life into my family tradition. I’m taking over where my dad left off in the vineyards and bringing it to the next level.’

Sbragia’s son Adam, also an experienced winemaker, will work with him there. The family winery currently produces about 6,000 cases per year of Napa and Sonoma wines and Sbragia says he’d like to grow the brand to around 10,000 cases annually.

Sbragia Family Vineyards currently makes 10 different wines, including five Cabernet Sauvignons from select Napa and Sonoma vineyards, a Chardonnay from Gamble Ranch in Napa, and an estate grown Zinfandel and Merlot from Dry Creek Valley.

Written by Tim Teichgraeber