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Thursday, February 24, 2011

In The Wine Country

I'm very lucky to live less than an hour away from Northern California's Wine Country. The valleys of Sonoma and Napa produce some of the world's finest wines, and the planting of grapes has altered the natural landscape in myriad ways. One of my favorite areas is the Carneros District that spans the southern flanks of both Sonoma and Napa, bordered by San Pablo Bay. The wine produced by Bouchaine, Artesa, Etude and others ranges from chardonnay to especially wonderful pinot noir.

The landscape here is fascinating, with parallel rows of vines criss-crossing the rolling hills down to the bay. Different varietals require different row spacing and direction, so the patterns are like patchwork quilts. The winery buildings range from faux French castles to rustic redwood barns, and reflect many styles of vernacular and high style architecture.

Every season reveals different colors and patterns, from the heavy dark green leaves and grape bunches of harvest season to the pruned bare black trunks of winter to the bright green new growth of spring. Visiting wineries and enjoying the wines and surroundings is now a year round activity.

I've been working on a new series of Carneros images to be published by ArtBrokers, Inc. The three illustrated here will join an earlier work, Carneros Winery Barn in a series of four prints. My thanks to David Coyle for his art direction and collaboration in bringing these images to life.

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