Some wineries take great pride in being state-of-the-art. Napa Valley’s Clos Pegase might more accurately be called the estate of the art.
Founder Jan Schrem began his professional life in publishing. For 13 years after graduating from college, he lived and worked in Japan, importing English-language reference and technical books to a country that was hungry for anything Western. He also translated and published books in Japan, an endeavor that helped him grow his company to nearly 2,000 employees in 50 offices.
With success came appreciation for the good things in life, including art and wine, the latter introduced to him by wife Mitsuko, whom he’d met and married during his years in Japan. In fact, wine became an all-consuming passion.
So, after 25 years in publishing, Jan and Mitsuko decided to sell their highly successful company and use the proceeds to become vintners. That’s how the Clos Pegase winery and its fabulous art collection came to be.
While the sculptures and other works of art bring people in, it’s the wine that brings them back. The stately symmetry of the winery’s architecture is reflected in the fine bottlings of Clos Pegase.
“I believe we have achieved balance, harmony and symmetry in the classical Greek sense,” Schrem says. “We avoid the Baroque concepts of high oak, high alcohol and high extract to create food-friendly wines of quiet elegance.”
One can actually “feel” the Clos Pegase style when walking the grounds of the estate. It’s in the cool stillness of the caves. It’s on the labels of the bottles in the tasting room, featuring a work by 10th century French artist Odilon Redon. It’s around a corner in the vineyard when one comes face to face with a sculpture that’s simultaneously beautiful and disarmingly irreverent.
Nowhere else do art and wine commingle so elegantly.