Ed Sbragia has made it official. He is going to make his own wine after all.
Last year, the winemaster for Beringer Vineyards said that after 25 years at the Napa Valley winery, he might be ready to strike out on his own. He wanted to start his own winery using his family's vineyard near Healdsburg in Sonoma County, where he lives.
Then, after Beringer's owners learned of his thoughts about leaving, they signed him to a new contract.
In the latest move, Sbragia, 53, is poised to enjoy the best of two worlds. He will remain winemaker at Beringer, overseeing the Private Reserve wines and special projects such as the Nightingale late-harvest dessert wine. But parent company Beringer Blass Wine Estates will also help him launch his own label and help him build a winery, according to Sbragia.
Sbragia termed the new arrangement a "handshake deal" between Beringer and him. Sbragia said he intends to make Cabernet Sauvignon from Howell Mountain in Napa Valley, Cabernet and Zinfandel from his family-owned vineyard and other sources, and Sonoma Chardonnay, once he settles on a source.
He said he would begin making wine as soon as possible, while plans are being drawn up for a winery.
"It's a win-win situation," he said. "I'm having too much fun at Beringer now to leave. But this gives me something to look forward to, since I've wanted to do something with my family for years."
Check our recent ratings of Beringer wines.
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