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by Fred McMillin
A Knight Delight
Not noted for his conservative lifestyle, W.C. Fields was lying in his hospital bed desperately ill. A friend tiptoed into the room, and was startled to see the patient reading the bible.
Visitor: "Bill, what are you doing!"
W.C., in that famous voice, "Looking for loopholes."
The Rest of the Story
In 1920 the Napa Valley winemakers were looking for loopholes, too...in the Volstead Act that established national Prohibition (passed over President Woodrow Wilson's veto).
This was serious. Beringer could no longer sell Cabernet...it was their most expensive red, at 85 cents a gallon!
But, 32-year-old Bertha Beringer (daughter of founder Jacob Beringer) found her loophole. Altar wines were permitted. She managed to get through a shakey 13 years, though she had to sell some vineyard land.
Happy Days are Here Again
July 14, 1933 Edition of the St. Helena Star: with the end of Prohibition there is "unusual activity at Beringer Brothers winery where ten men are at work preparing to fill the famous old winery to capacity with the present vintage."
The Dec. 8, 1933 Edition: "Beringer's famous cellars has (sic) become a madhouse. The place is swamped with orders...a procession of six enormous trucks, two of them with trailers, left the winery for points south, including Los Angeles."
So, in memory of that 85 cent per gallon Cabernet, a modern Beringer Cab is...
Our Wine of the Day
1996 Beringer Knights Valley 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Beringer and Knights Valley go back a long way. In the 1860s, Charles Krug made Napa's first commercial wine, and soon Jacob Beringer was the Krug Cellar Foreman. What was the source of the grapes for Krug's very first vintage? KNIGHT VALLEY!
This page created October 2000