The hills of Napa Valley, California, are alive, with the sound of.... well busy tasting rooms. This is wine country after all, not the Von Trapp family estate. Though if you’re a Napa Valley initiate, you might not realize that this region is also increasingly well known for its gourmet food (which pairs oh-so-well with its fine wines), but also, importantly, its emphasis on fine art. And we’re not just talking about souvenir paintings of Napa’s vineyard-ribbed foothills, either. Some of the local galleries do sport links to area wineries, but you’ll find that overall, their taste is good - both when it comes to wine and to art.
Prep for a weekend of art and wine in Napa Valley, California, by first consulting the arts & culture events calendar posted by the Arts Council Napa Valley www.nvarts.org. Even mid-winter there’s usually something happening, but don’t be deterred when there’s not. That’s not the only in to the area arts scene. For starters, you could check out the changing art exhibits at the Napa Valley Museum in Yountville or visit the art museum star in these parts, the Hess Collection Contemporary Art Museum - free and open daily (of association with the Hess Collection Winery). If you’re a weekend visitor, you’ll want to make an appointment to view the galleries and outdoor sculpture on show at di Rosa Preserve (which is normally open only Wednesday-Friday); thoughtfully curated exhibits make this one another don’t miss. Original Ansel Adams prints are the highlight (aside from the beverages) at Mumm Napa, while at Ma(i)sonry the trend is rather art (fine of course), furnishings (also fine) and fine wine. Look also for expansive exhibit space at the Robert Mondavi Winery, the I. Wolk Gallery in St. Helena and the sculpture garden at Auberge du Soleil (though this one is generally open to resort guests only). To enjoy a tour of the art installations or catch at “tower performance” at the privately owned Oliver Ranch, you’ll have to jump through a few hoops, but the reward is an insider’s glimpse of large-scale works by a handful of significant contemporary artists. Really, what could be finer than a weekend of fine food, fine wine and fine art?