The Happy Marriage of Art and Wine

CArnoldAre you into art? I have to admit that I did not get the art gene. During the not-quite 14 years I lived in Chicago, a city that’s very proud of its public art, I sometimes felt compelled to create a website called, which would consist strictly of pictures of statues and other works of art that I do not understand.

As a mature adult, however, I am able to appreciate that others may appreciate what I probably should but do not. And during my frequent visits to California’s North Coast wine country, I have noticed there are numerous opportunities to enjoy fine art in between visits to wineries.

Here are three places that wine- and art-loving friends have recommended to me…


You can view one or two or a handful of pieces of artwork at a number of wineries. But at Hess, located in the hills of Mount Veeder overlooking the Napa Valley, you can view a substantial portion of a massive art collection that owner Donald Hess began amassing in 1966. Free public access to the collection is provided by the winery, but reservations are strongly suggested.


Painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, ceramics, architecture, industrial design, graphic design, printmaking, film, video, textiles and crafts all are displayed at this museum in Sonoma. The exhibits are rotated regularly, so there’s always something new to see, and there are works by local, national and international artists.


Planning to visit both The Hess Collection and the Sonoma Valley Museum? This facility is located about halfway between Sonoma and Napa Valley, and includes one of the largest regional art collections in the country. A gift to the public by Rene di Rosa, a passionate art collector, the Preserve encompasses 217 scenic acres and houses around 2,000 works.

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