The company has signed two 30-year lease agreements to plant vineyards on tracts of undeveloped land owned by two families, thereby providing its wineries with a larger, stable supply of grapes from these well-known appellations.
Many of the grapes will likely go to expand Beringer's Sonoma County winery brands -- Chateau St. Jean and Chateau Souverain. The company also owns Meridian Vineyards in Paso Robles and Beringer Vineyards, Napa Ridge and Stags' Leap Winery in the Napa area. It already controls 3,400 acres of vineyards in California's North Coast.
The new additions include 600 acres on the Grace-Benoist Ranch, covering both the Carneros and Sonoma Valley appellations. Beringer plans to plant Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Merlot and Syrah there in spring 2000, with full production expected by 2005.
The company will also develop 150 acres in the cool southern end of Napa County; this will be planted mainly to Pinot Noir, starting in 2001.
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