World-renown for its wine and food culture, Napa Valley's vibrant art scene is too often overshadowed by the region's raison d'etre.
Develop your taste from the palate to the palette at these art-centric wineries and tasting rooms.
The Prisoner Wine Company
(Courtesy of Prisoner Wine Country)
The Prisoner Wine Company's edgy new tasting room has a dedicated Makery space, which is basically like a permanent and not-at-all kitschy arts fair where local artisans show their work. To gain access, you need to book either The Journey or The Makery Experience (the latter is centered around an epic food and wine pairing), and you can shop handmade goods like pottery, jewelry, and even wine-infused jellies and salts. There is one very unique art piece that's not for sale: Ash Dancer, by artist Angelio Batle. is a mesmerizing, interactive installation featuring a graphite skeleton and a vibrating table. —Jess Lander// 1178 Galleron Rd. (St. Helena), theprisonerwinecompany.com
Brasswood Napa Valley
(Courtesy of Brasswood)
This Wine Country campus has it all: a winery, restaurant, bakery, event space, and even an art gallery. The rotating gallery recently finished up a run featuring work by Salvador Dali and is now showcasing the famous animal sculptures by French artist Cévé. To have a look, you'll need to book a Gallery Tasting ($75/person; available Saturday and Sunday mornings), which follows up a tour of the gallery with a flight of Brasswood's small production wines paired with artisanal cheeses. —Jess Lander// 3111 St Helena Hwy (St Helena), brasswood.com
Cliff Lede Vineyards
(Cliff Lede Vineyards)
Music, art, and wine collide at Cliff Lede Vineyards, where even the vineyard blocks are named after rock hits, from Bohemian Rhapsody to Hey Jude to Dancing in the Dark. The winery's swanky Backstage Lounge is a private tasting room and art gallery that celebrates icons of rock and roll and also has rotating exhibits, like Music for the Eyes, featuring limited-edition and signed manuscripts and art from the likes of John Lennon, Janis Joplin, and more. As a bonus, this experience gives you a backstage pass to Cliff Lede's top, limited-production juice. —Jess Lander// 1473 Yountville Cross Rd. (Yountville), cliffledevineyards.com
Ai Weiwei's Circle of Animal/Zodiac Heads.
(Courtesy of Donum Estate)
On 200 bucolic acres, Donum Estate is notable for its chardonnay and Burgundian-style pinot noir crafted by Anne Moller-Racke, one of the region's top female winemakers. But it's also a must-visit for its high-end sculpture park, an open air gallery that showcases more than 30 installations by major international artists.
Inhale the aroma of the grapes as you wander around Artificial Rock, a stainless-steel piece by Chinese artist Zhang Wang; take an astrological journey in the Circle of Animal/Zodiac Heads by AI Weiwei, located inside a zen garden-like space; take a selfie with Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama's Pumpkin; and play like a royal with Keith Haring's King and Queen sculpture, produced just three years before his death. More of the collection resides inside the Donum Home, including the Crouching Spider by Paris-born artist Louise Bourgeois, whose works currently appear at SFMOMA. —Anna Volpicelli // Open by reservation only by calling 707.732.2200; 24500 Ramal Road (Sonoma), thedonumestate.com.
(Courtesy of Acumen)
This downtown Napa tasting room comes with its own contemporary art gallery. Acumen crafts boutique wines from their coveted Atlas Peak vineyards, which can be sampled in this chic tasting salon complete with some repurposed art, like chandeliers crafted from steel tank heads and a bar from a fallen vineyard oak tree. In the back, the rotating gallery currently features Eklund & Eklund, a photography and mixed-media collection from a father and son duo from Sweden, which showcases many wine-themed works. —Jess Lander // 1315 First St. (Napa), acumenwine.com
The Gallery Bar is lined with the iconic black and white photography of Ansel Adams.
(Courtesy of Turnbull Wines)
Napa Valley's Turnbull is a landmark for lovers of architecture, design, and art, thanks foremost to its architect founder William Turnbull Jr., notable for his work on Sonoma County's iconic Sea Ranch. These days, it is the careful eye of art collector Patrick O'Dell, the winery's current owner, and his stepdaughter, 37-year-old winery president Zoe Johns, who are curating the experience.
A self-professed design nerd, Johns has overhauled the tasing rooms and garden to suit her own rustic-yet-refined taste and, most importantly, to show off twice yearly art exhibitions culled from O'Dell's incredible collection of Ansel Adams photography—one of the country's largest—inside the winery's Gallery Bar. Sip a glass of their signature Josephine Sauvignon Blanc while contemplating the black-and-white landscapes of Adams as well as the images of 20th century master Edward Weston and documentary photog Margaret Bourke-White, the first American female war photojournalist. Currently on view is Travel for Good, a selection of 60 large-format color images of indigenous people by San Francisco–based humanitarian photographer Lisa Kristine. —Anna Volpicelli // Open daily from 10 am to 5pm; 8210 St. Helena Highway (Oakville), turnbullwines.com.
A piece from the Keeping Accounts series by Kate Solari.
(Courtesy of Landmark Vineyards)
One of the oldest wineries in Napa Valley, the quaint, 1895 Larkmead estate in Calistoga displays the artwork of proprietor Kate Solari, who grew up in Napa Valley and started painting in the '80s (she even has a studio in the hayloft of the historic Larkmead barn). Her Keeping Accounts ledger collages are especially on theme; Solar created this series from the winery's 20th century ledgers that her mother kept, which she's incorporated into colorful vineyard landscapes. —Jess Lander// 1100 Larkmead Lane (Calistoga), larkmead.com
Hall Napa Valley
Best known for the 35-foot tall Bunny Foo Foo leaping out of the vineyards on the edge of Highway 29 in St. Helena, Hall's not-so-subtle Lawrence Argent sculpture is just one of 35 seriously whimsical contemporary pieces you'll experience as you meander through the historic winery with a glass of vino in hand. Other works include a life-size, white camel sculpture by John Baldessari and a viewfinder by Alyson Shotz, designed with roughly 30 different lenses for a kaleidoscopic perspective of the estate vineyards. —Jess Lander// 401 St. Helena Hwy (St. Helena), hallwines.com
Located above the tasting room, Hess Collection's three-story modern-art gallery exhibits more than 20 artists in proprietor Donald Hess' personal collection, curated over 40 years. Our favorite works include the flaming typewriter by Leopoldo Maler, a tribute to his uncle who was assassinated for his political essays, and a room dedicated to environmental sculptor Andy Goldsworthy. His piece, Rock Pools, consists of large melted stones that he fired up in a kiln. —Jess Lander// 4411 Redwood Rd. (Napa), hesscollection.com
Seated tastings on Mumm's popular terrace are hard to come by on weekends, but you can skip the line, grab a glass of sparkling from the visitors center, and take a stroll through their fine-art photography gallery instead. You'll find 27 silver-gelatin prints in the Ansel Adams Poetry of Light exhibit, showcasing some of the San Francisco native's most famous landscape photographs from Yosemite National Park. Sometimes there are other exhibits as well, like Wayne Levin's otherworldly black-and-white underwater photographs from his "Through a Liquid Mirror" series, which brings awareness to ecological issues such as coral-reef bleaching. —Jess Lander// 8445 Silverado Trail (Napa), mummnapa.com
St. Supery Estate Vineyards & Winery
This idyllic, French countryside-inspired estate—owned by none other than Chanel—pairs estate grown sauvignon blanc and cabernet with art. Visitors can casually wander up to view the second-floor gallery's contents, which rotate throughout the year. Recent exhibits include paintings by artist Stephen Coyle, depicting scenes inspired by his trips to the beach and urban settings, like New York and L.A., and real-enough-to-eat paintings of different types of cheese. // 8440 St. Helena Hwy (Rutherford), stsupery.com
RiverHouse by Bespoke Collection
One of downtown Napa's newest tasting rooms doubles as an art gallery. Michael Polenske, founder of Bespoke Collection (which includes Aerena Galleries & Gardens and three wine labels: Blackbird Vineyards, Recuerdo Wines, and Resolute Wines), opened RiverHouse as a place where all of his endeavors converge. Greeted by a pair of eagle sculptures (and a glass of rosé), you will be lead by RiverHouse staff on a tour around the gallery where you'll find a mix of classic and contemporary collections, such as SF native Brett Hammond's wine-themed, comic book-like canvases. Hanging just outside a Mad Men-esque mancave is an Andy Warhol piece, fittingly depicting grapes. There are plenty of tasting options, but if you make an appointment for lunchtime, you can sit down for an incredible bento box lunch from Morimoto ($105), or pair your flight with the chef's famous Bespoke burger ($80). —Jess Lander// 604 Main St. (Napa), bespokecollection.com/riverhouse
Instead of touring an official gallery, the art at Rutherford Ranch is consumed comfortably, as if you're simply having a glass of wine at a friend's house while admiring the art on their walls. The cozy tasting lounge, best known for its chocolate-and-wine offering, displays a collection of photography and oil paintings from a handful of different artists, plus a few pieces that were commissioned by Rutherford Ranch to convey the natural beauty of their estate vineyards. —Jess Lander// 1680 Silverado Trail (St. Helena), rutherfordwine.com