Wine and Art?

August 14, 2018

There are two subjects that, when asked to talk about them, cause most Americans go white with fear – wine and art. I’ve been around this country enough times to see the intimidation so many people feel about these subjects, cringing at the thought of being asked questions they don’t feel knowledgeable enough to answer.  Wine has come the furthest in recent years, as more and more people add wine to their weekday dinner tables, enjoy it at restaurant and wine bars, or travel to the Napa Valley to drink up the energy, the excitement and the romance of wine country.

But art…wow, that’s still a head scratcher for so many. I think the difficulty comes from the rarely discussed fact that art is a visual language, not a verbal one. The temptation to translate that visual expression into words is always there because we are so verbal. But holding back the words can really open up the experience.

As a language, even a visual one, art has its symbols, its idioms, its vernacular. These are derived from art throughout the ages, from the evolution of styles and subject matter. They bounce between the historic and the current. But they truly are the elements of art’s visual vocabulary.

So, at you next art opening, enjoy the art but resist the temptation to put words all over the experience. Just be still. Let it soak in. You don’t need to “know.”

And don’t forget to drink some wine. Plenty of wine

We are pleased to let you know that Art House Pinot Noir is available in several locations throughout the Napa Valley. Although we’ve only been on the market for a few short months, we are already on the wine lists at some of the top restaurants in the valley: Don Giovanni, Bottega, Lucy at Bardessono, and now Morimoto!

For those interested in picking up a bottle or two, Backroom Wines in downtown Napa also carries us.

Many thanks to the sommeliers and new friends in the Valley for your support.

Of course, you can always order it directly from our website:

Christmas lights in the vineyard? No just raindrops reflecting the beautiful haze of December. Long awaited and much appreciated, the rains are pretty gentle so far this season. We do anticipate some crazy rain storms off of the Pacific later.

For now, we’ll drink up the weather along with the wine and celebrate the sights of the season. The best news about Winter (less than two weeks away) is the days start to get longer. The wheel turns. New life begins again.


THE WHEEL (Hunter/Garcia)

The wheel is turning and you can't slow down

You can't let go and you can't hold on

You can't go back and you can't stand still

If the thunder don't get you then the lightning will


Won't you try just a little bit harder

Couldn't you try just a little bit more


Round, round, Robin run around

Gotta get back where you belong

Little bit harder, just a little bit more

Little bit further than you gone before


Small wheel turning by the fire and rod

Big wheel turning by the grace of God

Every time that wheel turn round

Bound to cover just a little more ground


The wheel is turning and you can't slow down

You can't let go and you can't hold on

You can't go back and you can't stand still

If the thunder don't get you then the lightning will




November 12, 2015

Isn't rain awesome?  It almost feels like what I remember as "normal."  Keep it comin' Mr. Weatherman.  And, thanks.


November 11, 2015

Five years ago I woke up and saw a blazing shape in the sky. It drew me to the upstairs window and then quickly down the stairs to my camera. The front of our home faces east, with an expansive vineyard across the road, then the river, and beyond that a ridge of mountain the forms the southeast boundary of the Napa Valley. Day was breaking and the sun was bouncing its early glow off the underside of the low November clouds.

I’ve always been a morning person. When I was five I was obliged to get up at 5:30 and help my older brother wrap newspapers for his paper route. There is something inspiring in the atmosphere that time of day -- a stillness that excites, the breathing of the world as the darkness dissipates and a new day begins. I felt it that morning.

I was a recent initiate to Facebook and decided to post the startling light show I had just captured, captioned with the adapted Creedence reference: “Doo doo doo lookin' out my front door.” To my delight, I got “likes”. Lots of likes. 

Thank you, Ivan Pavlov. The next morning offered an equally beautiful daybreak performance and I was there again, capturing on my camera and posting on Facebook.

Five years later I am still here. And still there each morning, watching a “new” sun slowly illuminate the sky. I’m programed now, and it’s not just from the positive conditioning I get from Facebook friends. It is the experience of a new day’s promise, written in the sky each morning – sometimes in high drama, sometimes in flat almost featureless expression – that keeps me coming back. An amazing show every day. One after another. Always new. Always fresh. Always open.


We were proud to be able to contribute, even on a small scale, to the Staglin Family’s 21st annual Music festival for Brain Health recently. This year’s event raised $4.8 million to benefit the IMHRO/One Mind Institute and One Mind.  Musical headliner was the always amazing Melissa Etheridge.

Since 1995, the Festival has raised a total of $225 million for One Mind and continued scientific research.

Congratulations to the Staglin Family, its donors and sponsors, and the mental health community.

One of my recent paintings, Entanglement 17: The Night Garden, will be featured this week at Art Silicon Valley/San Francisco 2015, October 9-11. It will be shown at the Andrea Schwartz Gallery booth, the gallery who represents me in the Bay Area.

Read More


March 11, 2015

Get to know us better at two events this coming April.  It's "Arts in April" month throughout Napa Valley, a series of arts and culture events organized by Arts Council Napa Valley and Visit Napa Valley.  

We are proudly participating with two events:  Beatnik BBQ on April 4 and Wine, Dine, Art in the Vines on April 9.  Tickets and seating are limited, so check out the programs at the links below and Come Join Us!!  

Discounts are offered to Art House Allocation Club Members.

Beatnik BBQ

Wine, Dine, Art in the Vines

What Gives in the Garden?

March 10, 2015

The short answer is: EVERYTHING.  Dona's Garden is on the verge of a most generous explosion, as our short winter moves fully into spring.  Following are a few of the highlights, photographed March 10, 2015.

Maple trees


Garden View with Loropetalum


Loropetalum Up Close


Lady Bank Rose Tunnel 


Lady Banks Up Close



Daybreak Napa Valley

February 28, 2015

In November of 2010, I photographed a dramatic sunrise just across the street from us, looking east across the Carneros toward the dawn. I posted it on Facebook. Although I didn’t realize it, I had begun a project that continues to this day – photographing each morning’s break of day. The project is not so much a tribute to beautiful skies (although there are many unbelievable lightshows), but a grateful acknowledgement that we get to start over every morning. Documenting the new day, in all its glory, its infinite variation, and its sometimes seeming sameness, is just a way of saying thanks.

So, watch the blog for highlights of Daybreak Napa Valley. Pictured above February 26, 2015.

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