Wine Country Inn Blog - March 2012

Arts in April at Wine Country Inn

During April, the Napa Valley will focus on the elemental connection between wine and the arts, incorporating many of the artists, curators and collectors that make up The Napa Valley Collection.™ In the charming towns spread throughout the Napa Valley, wineries, galleries, studios, performing arts venues and other businesses will serve up special arts-related offers and host art-and-wine events.

Here are four reasons to visit The Wine Country Inn in April:

* We will be featuring two local artists’ works in the Inn’s Common Room (see info below).

* In addition to art…wildflowers! April is a fanstatically colorful time of year in the Napa Valley, as wildflowers bloom along the roads and trails, and the grounds at Wine Country Inn begin to come alive with color and depth.

* Easy to get around! As it’s still “off season”, restaurant reservations and winery tours are easy to come by, making your stay as enjoyable as possible.

* Nearby wineries have special art and other displays throughout the month (see below).

At Wine Country Inn

Mark Mattioli lives in the town of Napa. He is an artist and illustrator with a self-proclaimed “whimsical point-of-view” about everyday things. “I create from my imagination,” Mattioli says. At the Inn we will have several of Mattioli’s hand-painted wooden wine cases on display.

Bay Area photographer Martin Delfino teamed with body painter Tina Merry to create an interpretation of the Four Seasons using four different models…covered only with body paint! Prep time for the hair, body paint, and makeup for each model took…four hours! Come see which “season” intrigues you the most.

In addition to our new art-at-the-Inn in April, here are several wineries located very close to the Wine Country Inn that feature unique art exhibits (or, as noted, interesting architecture):

Castello di Amorosa (architecture). Where else can you tour a 13th century, 107 room, Tuscan style Castle and Winery? Here, in the Napa Valley, only minutes from Wine Country Inn! (And they make great wine, too!)

Clos Pegase (architecture and art). The Postmodern design of Clos Pegase merges modern and ancient architecture with strong allusions to ancient Mediterranean themes, especially Crete. Within the wineries walls are impressive paintings by local artists.

Darioush (architecture). The Darious winery building comes after five years in the making, and combines materials, castings, and furnishings from distant lands and exotic locations. The 22,000 square foot winery, the first in America to combine architecture, design and Persian culture, provides a unique and exhilarating experience in California’s most renowned wine destination. Reminiscent of the great noble architecture that once existed, the imagery of the Darioush building evokes Persepolis, the illustrious capital of ancient Persia.

Far Niente. The Far Niente winery is surrounded by 13 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens, thought by many to be among the most stunning landscapes in the Napa Valley. Described as “southern” in style, with an emphasis on texture and foliage, the highlight of the Far Niente gardens is the thousands of southern azaleas that bloom every spring, carpeting the estate in brilliant hues of bright red and deep pink. It is said to be the largest single planting of this particular variety of azalea in California, and possibly throughout all of the west coast.

Hess. Located in the historic stone winery originally constructed in 1903 by Colonel Theodore Gier, the winery first opened to the public in 1989. It since has earned international recognition for its wine, culinary and visitor programs, and provides free public access to Donald Hess’ extensive private contemporary Art Museum.

Markham Vineyards Enjoy a photographic retrospective of Rock n’ Roll’s biggest stars and events as captured by Baron Wolman and featured on the covers of Rolling Stone.

Mumm. Experience amazing photography exhibits in a spectacular winery setting. Rotating exhibits showcase the work of renowned international and local photographers throughout the year. Striking corridors paved with terra cotta tiles lead you through two world-class photography galleries. Guests may explore the Galleries at their leisure while enjoying a glass of wine from the Visitor Center.

Quixote (architecture). Here are the design rules which create the festive atmosphere that is Quixote: No straight lines; Roofs are planted with grass and trees; Every building is capped with a golden turret to elevate man’s sense of himself; Color is king.

Robert Mondavi. As an artist herself, Margrit Biever Mondavi has a history of supporting the arts and her personal love of painting led her to establish the rotating art collection in the Vineyard Room. Along with the rotating collection, the winery has a permanent collection of paintings. The first painting Margrit acquired for the winery was painted by local artist Guli Buchanan in 1967. It currently hangs over the fireplace in the winery’s Le Marche gift shop.

Turnbull. The Reserve Room Gallery, with its beautiful barrels, antique bar, and cathedral ceiling with exposed wood beams, is the perfect setting to taste our exceptional wines and view the winery’s latest fine art photography exhibit. Turnbull Wine Cellars has one of the largest permanent photography exhibition spaces on the West Coast. Each show features 60 to 90 original, privately-owned works by Master Photographers, including such notables as Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Berenice Abbott, Eugene Atget, Andre Kertesz, Edward Steichen and Yousuf Karsh.

We hope to see you in April at The Wine Country Inn!

We Visit Bottega Restaurant

As we’ve stated previously, we want to share our excursions out to Napa Valley restaurants, wineries, and attractions, to help you during your next stay at The Wine Country Inn.

Today we talk about (er, rave about) Bottega Restaurant. Bottega is the brainchild from Napa boy and celebrity chef Michael Chiarello. It’s approximately a 15 minute drive from Wine Country Inn, but, in our opinion, well worth it!

Bottega does it ALL well: beautiful rustic decor; exceptional service; and award-winning Italian food. Among the items we tried included:

Polenta Under Glass, with caramelized mushrooms & balsamic game sauce (one of their signature items!), and Red Wheat Tagliarini Bolognese, with veal, pork & porcini mushroom sugo, rosemary, and parmigiano reggiano.

Dessert was a chocolate “lava” cake that, as one of the wives proclaimed, was “TDF: To Die For!”

Insiders’ Tips:
1. At first glance, the wines-by-the-glass prices seem very high (even compared to Napa Valley standards). But the wines come in a carafe which is really one-and-a-half or even one-and-three-quarters glasses of wine, making the price very reasonable.
2. Let the Bottega team know ahead of time if you are celebrating any special occasion. We were (a birthday), and they added several nice touches that really enhanced our dining experience.
3. Chiarello has a companion retail store next door, called Napa Style. You might want to schedule your reservation early in the evening, and then arrive at least 20 minutes early to peruse first Napa Style.
4. Try the Polenta Under Glass. It’s simply of the best dishes in the entire Napa Valley, period, end of story!