Bergfeld Winery History

In this video, HALL Wine Educator and Certified Sommelier, Scott Herrmann discusses the "Bergfeld" winery's rich history.




Our historic "Bergfeld" winery was built in 1885 by a New England Sea Captain named William Peterson.  After 31 years as a seaman and several circumnavigations around the globe, Captain Peterson set his sights on the Napa Valley and the pursuit of viticulture and winemaking. He moved to St. Helena and purchased 49 acres of land in 1873. He planted vineyards and soon began construction of his winery. Built of solid stone on the first floor and wood frame on the second, the 5,000 square foot winery had the capacity to produce 27,000 gallons of wine. Unfortunately, Captain Peterson did not enjoy the fruits of his labor for long, as phylloxera destroyed his vineyard in the early 1890s. Deeply discouraged, Captain Peterson sold his winery in 1894 and returned to his native Massachusetts, where he died six years later.

The second owner, San Francisco building contractor Robert Bergfeld, a German immigrant, purchased the winery for a pittance and immediately set about replanting the vineyard. He also chiseled away Peterson's name from the stone above the winery entrance and replaced it with his own - "Bergfeld", and this is how the winery remains today.  

In 1906, the winery was purchased by Theodore Gier, who also owned what is now the Hess Collection winery. Gier was responsible for constructing the large barrel storage rooms which are adjacent to the historic winery. Gier held the winery until it was eventually shut down due to the onset of prohibition.

In 1933, with the repeal of Prohibition, a small group of local vineyard owners, led by Charles Forni and Angelo Petri, formed the Napa Valley Cooperative Winery.  Local growers could become members of the Coop, which served as a fermentation facility for grapes from all over the Napa Valley. The Cooperative would make their grapes into wine, sell it to a wine brand, and then return the proceeds from the sale of the wine to the cooperative owners.  The Napa Valley Cooperative Winery managed the winery on this site from 1933 – 1994, when it was sold to Golden State Vintners.

The Halls acquired the historic winery in 2003 and are in the process of merging history with innovation as a brand new state of the art,LEED® Gold certifed winery has been completed on the property. The oldwarehouses that surrounded the historic "Bergfeld" building have been removed to showcase the historic site and this building will become the centerpiece of an extraordinary courtyard in the new winery.

The Bergfeld building, currently under restoration.

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