Hess Persson Estates in Napa
One of the most distinguished holdings of contemporary art in the county, the Hess Collection shows about three-quarters of its works in museums worldwide and the rest are displayed here. Founder Donald Hess invests not only in art works, but in the artists themselves, focusing his interest on 20 living artists whose work he faithfully supports over decades. An audio tour is available, or take the docent-led tour of the whole gallery followed by an optional complimentary tasting.
HALL Wines in St. Helena
This spectacular, multimedia collection begins as you turn into Hall’s drive and see the gleaming “Bunny Foo Foo” sculpture by Lawrence Argent. Then take a tour of the whole winery, filled with works by some of the most internationally acclaimed artists today—including John Baldessari, Jim Campbell, Nick Cave, and Jaume Plensa. Outside, the garden has additional sculptures that inspire conversation and photos.
Robert Mondavi Winery in Oakville
Here too the visitor is greeted by a massive work of art: St. Francis of Assisi by 20th-century sculptor Beniamino Bufano. (It’s an on-going theme at the winery, in honor of the order the saint founded, which first brought grapes to California 200 years ago.) There’s also a permanent collection and an exhibit by the current artist in residence.
Markham Vineyards in St. Helena
Markham regularly shows the work of resident artists in its visitors’ center, with admission free and open to the public. Currently on display is a show called “Blues to Psychedelia” with works on canvas by Harold and Peggy Francis. Peggy’s portraits celebrate the vibrancy of Southern blues musicians, while Harold’s work takes a more abstract approach with color, pattern, and texture. The winery includes a tasting with the show, so take the time to enjoy each pour and stroll through both exhibits.
Jessup Cellars in Yountville
This intimate winery’s Tasting Gallery is filled with original paintings and sculptures by both established names and local emerging artists. Works are in a diversity of styles including abstract, figurative, and landscape. Cynthia Carey is the resident artist and curator, and there are art-themed special events. While you’re there, be sure to sample Jessup’s portfolio of small-lot, Napa Valley-sourced wines.
Turnbull Wine Cellars in Oakville
Turnbull’s Gallery includes a casual, standing tasting at the Gallery bar surrounded by its excellent photography collection, which rotates twice annually. Featured are works by such well-known names as Herb Ritts, Edward Weston, Dorothea Lange, Edward Weston, Margaret Bourke White, Ansel Adams, and Berenice Abbott. Taste a flight of Turnbull’s current releases, enjoy the photography, then wander outside and explore the beautiful grounds.
Mumm Napa in Rutherford
Mumm features another extraordinary collection of photography, entitled Poetry of Light. It comprises 27 gelatin silver prints created by Ansel Adams and loaned to the winery by his family. It includes many of his most recognized works, such as Monolith, the Face of Half Dome, Yosemite National Park; Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico; and Winter Sunrise from Lone Pine. You can explore the galleries at your own pace with a glass of sparkling wine from the Visitor Center.