Napa Valley: Travelers Should Visit for the Art

Hess Art Goldsworthy
Hess Art Collection/Goldsworthy

Many travelers are attracted to Napa Valley for its wineries. However, Napa has started to gain traction with visitors because of its artistic side. The valley’s art culture began in 1970 when Margit Biever Mondavi, wife of Robert Mondavi, opened a 5,000-square-foot gallery at the winery. This began the movement of mixing art exhibits with wine, and today more and more wineries are opening art exhibits (wine and art the perfect pair). 

In fact, there are 70 wineries in the region that have more than 10,000 pieces of art. There are also 90 public art installations around the region. Visitors should visit Yountville and see outdoor sculptures by rising artists or drop in on the di Rosa winery, which has 2,000 works by a total of 800 artists.

The Hess Collection is another must-see on the Napa art scene circuit. This gallery is the owner’s personal collection and is housed in an 11,000-square-foot space. The gallery focuses on 20 living artists, who Donald Hess personally creates a dialogue with in order to better understand the creator and creation.

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Lewsi Funakoshi
Hess Collection/Lewis Funakoshi

If an appreciator of art is looking for something more abstract, the HALL Rutherford at HALL Wines showcases select works in glowing wine caves. 

"All of our art is contemporary," says Kathryn Walt Hall, vintner at HALL Wines. "Most recently we have begun to collect 21st century art including video art, and we love it."

HALL Wines welcomes upwards of 3,500 visitors a week to the winery, depending on the season, explains Walt Hall. 

Another idea: If a client wants to mix tasting and art gazing, we suggest Ma(i)sonry. Here, in a historic stone manor, travelers can sip wine blends while enjoying a gallery and sculpture garden.

Clients can get an overview of all the art Napa Valley has to offer with a visit to the Napa Valley Collection. The collection has cataloged all the works in the valley, making it easy to plan out a daylong, art adventure. 

Don't forget to stay tuned in April when “Arts in April” occurs. This is Napa’s signature art event that lasts 30 days. During this time, the wineries showcase their collections that may not be on display any other time of the year. Some of last year's events included tours of private residences, photography exhibits and meet-the-artist receptions.