Artesa Winery


Artesa Winery is at the gateway between Napa Valley and the San Francisco Bay area and often a first stop for those heading into wine country. Artesa makes a great first impression, not only with its wine, but with stunning architecture. Designed by the revered Barcelona architect Domingo Triay, the building reflects the winery’s Spanish roots with a visitor center designed to seamlessly merge into the surrounding gentle hills of Carneros. The huge terrace offers a 360-degree panorama that can extend all the way to the San Francisco skyline on a sunny day. In addition, the soils here are unique from the clay that Carneros is known for, consisting of more rocks and loam, leading to smaller, more intense grapes. Adding to the aesthetics, well known local Gordon Huether is the artist in residence at Artesa and his works are shown throughout the building and grounds.

The People

Winery ownership and winemaker combine for a rich and storied framework that is full of prestige and history. Codorniu Raventósis a family owned winery in Spain that can date its winemaking legacy back to 1551! They founded a sparkling winery in 1991 called Codorníu Napa, and renamed it Artesa in 1997, which translates as “handcrafted” to refocus the brand on still wine production. They hired experienced winemaker Mark Beringer in 2009 and Mark is the Artesa Winemaker Mark Beringergreat-great-grandson of Beringer Vineyards founder Jacob Beringer. With this incredible lineage, he is a fifth generation winemaker who has achieved much more than being born into a local legend. While overseeing all of wine making at Duckhorn Vineyards, which was named ‘Winery of the Year’ twice by Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine. Mark was also named ‘Winemaker of the Year’ in 2005 by the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Wine

Artesa-2012-Caneros-ChardonnayArtesa’s wine making style is a perfect melding of old and new world that come together in wines recognized for their quality. Driven by the terroir of Carneros, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir have really come to define this Napa Valley winery. The Carneros Chardonnay is the heart of the wine making at Artesa. Utilizing whole cluster pressing to accent the texture of the wine, the Chardonnay is half fermented in new French oak and also sees 50% malo-lactic fermentation. These techniques add richness on the palate without compromising the lemon, honey, and white flower notes on the nose. The wine is round and generous, but still vibrant and carries some pleasing minerality. For a seriously hedonistic chardonnay, try their single vineyard estate produced Block 92 Chardonnay, which is only available at the tasting room.

The other side of the Carneros coin is Pinot Noir. A classic in the south end of the Napa Valley, the Artesa Pinot Noir features gorgeous floral and red fruit aromas of cherry and strawberry, all perfectly wrapped in hints of caramel and toasty oak. The grapes are de-stemmed, given a three-day cold soak in order to extract color and flavor without the bitter tannins. A short nine-month barrel regiment keeps this wine as acidic and clean as it is perfumed and food friendly. In addition to the estate vineyards surrounding the tasting room, winemaker Mark Beringer also sources a very rare and exclusive Pinot Noir from the famous Carneros Sangiacomo Vineyard. The wine shows strong acids and solid barrel tannin, which lend itself to a few years in the cellar for a very graceful bottle aging.

Why else visit the Artesa Winery tasting room in Carneros? Beautiful scenery, great wines, local art… how about sparkling wine made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay? In a nod to their Iberian heritage, they produce a vibrant and aromatic Albariño, Spain’s most famous white wine.

If  you want to see, know and taste more of what is happening at Artesa, let Beau Wine Tours take you on a Sonoma wine tour in grace and style.